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U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Unexpectedly Edges Lower In April

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Likely reflecting winter weather effects, the National Association of Home Builders released a report on Monday unexpectedly showing a modest drop in U.S. homebuilder confidence in the month of April.

The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index edged down to 69 in April from 70 in March. Economists had expected the index to come in unchanged.

"The minor dip in builder confidence this month is likely due to winter weather effects, which may be slowing housing activity in some pockets of the country," said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz.

He added, "As we head into the spring home buying season, we can expect the market to continue to make gains at a gradual pace."

The unexpected decrease by the headline index was partly due to a decrease by the component gauging current sales conditions, which fell to 75 in April from 77 in March.

The component measuring sales expectations in the next six months also dipped to 77 in April from 78 in March, while the component gauging buyer traffic held steady at 51.

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release a separate report on new residential construction in the month of March.

Housing starts are expected to jump by 1.9 percent in March after plunging by 7.0 percent in February. Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, are also expected to climb by 0.7 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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