Home Builder Confidence Soars in U.S. to 6-Mo. Highs

Figures released Tuesday indicate confidence among U.S. home builders increased more than expected in October, this following some hurricane-induced dips in previous months.

A monthly sentiment index from the National Association of Home Builders rose four points to 68, the highest level since last May. A reading above 50 is considered positive sentiment. The index stood at 63 in October 2016.

Builders of homes have atriibuted the lack of productivity to the labour shortage nationwide. In Houston, thousands of homes were flooded during Hurricane Harvey, and just a week after the water receded some contractors said they already had a waiting list of over a year to do repairs. For homes completely destroyed, the list was even longer.

The number of homes destroyed in the hurricane is higher than the total number of regular new home permits estimated for Houston this year.

The commodity futures price for lumber is now up 21% from the end of August, when Harvey struck, and continues to rise. The fires in Northern California, which have destroyed more than 6,000 structures already, are only adding to the lumber price spike and the labour shortage.