By Xavier Fontdegloria


Home-builder confidence in the U.S. increased in October for a sixth straight month, further surpassing the previous all-time high recorded in September, according to a measure from the National Association of Home Builders. Here are the report's main takeaways:

--The association's housing market index, which gauges the single-family housing market, increased to 85 in October, up two points from September level of 83. A number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

--The reading beats economists' forecasts from The Wall Street Journal poll, which estimated the index to slightly tick down to 82.

--October marks the sixth consecutive improvement of the index. The indicator, which registered the biggest ever on-month drop in April, stands currently at its highest level in the 35-year history of the series. It also is the first time that the index has been above 80 for two consecutive months.

--"The housing market continues to be a bright spot for the economy, supported by increased buyer interest in the suburbs, exurbs and small towns," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "Single-family home sales are outpacing starts by a historic margin. Bridging this gap will require either a gain in construction volume or reductions in available inventory, which is already at a historic low in terms of month's supply," he said.

--"Traffic remains high and record-low interest rates are keeping demand strong as the concept of home has taken on renewed importance for work, study and other purposes in the Covid-19 era," NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke said.

--All the HMI indexes posted or matched their highest readings ever in October. The index gauging current sales conditions rose two points to 90, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased to 88 from 85 the previous month, and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers held steady at 74.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 19, 2020 10:14 ET (14:14 GMT)

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