US home builder confidence holds steady in November despite economic uncertainty

US home builders are continuing to have a rough time of it. The National Associtation of Homebuilders (NAHB) housing market index was flat in November, at 54, from 54 in October, which was revised down from 55. Confidence in the sector remains low amid rising construction costs, and the index continues to be at the lowest level since June. Expectations were that it would edge up to 55 this month.

This marks the sixth consecutive month that more builders saw market conditions as good than poor, with a reading over 50 marking a positive view, and below, a negative.

“Given the current interest rate and pricing environment, consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes, but are holding back because Congress keeps pushing critical decisions on budget, tax and government spending issues down the road,” said NAHB chairman Rick Judson. “Meanwhile, builders continue to face challenges related to rising construction costs and low appraisals.”

“Policy and economic uncertainty is undermining consumer confidence,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “The fact that builder confidence remains above 50 is an encouraging sign, considering the unresolved debt and federal budget issues cause builders and consumers to remain on the sideline.”