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U.S. homebuilder confidence unexpectedly declines in July

Staff Writer |
Homebuilder confidence in the U.S. unexpectedly declined in the month of July, according to a report released by the National Association of Home Builders on Tuesday.

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The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index dropped to 64 in July from a revised 66 in June. Economists had expected the index to hold at the 67 originally reported for the previous month.

"Our members are telling us they are growing increasingly concerned over rising material prices, particularly lumber," said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald.

He added, "This is hurting housing affordability even as consumer interest in the new-home market remains strong."

The unexpected decline by the housing market index reflected decreases by all three of the component indexes.

The index gauging current sales conditions and the index charting sales expectations in the next six months both fell by two points to 70 and 73, respectively. The component measuring buyer traffic slipped one point to 48.

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on new residential construction in the month of June.

Housing starts are expected to climb to an annual rate of 1.150 million in June after tumbling to a rate of 1.092 millions in May.

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