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Expand chart
Data: National Association of Home Builders; Chart: Axios Visuals

New details on the epic disruption facing homebuilders emerged Tuesday, as a key sentiment index reached a 10-month low.

Why it matters: Homebuilders are passing along their higher materials costs to customers, increasingly pushing home prices out of reach for some aspiring buyers.

What's new: The National Association of Homebuilders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which tracks builders' sentiment, dropped 2 points to 81 versus consensus for a reading of 83.

  • "Higher costs and declining availability for softwood lumber and other building materials pushed down builder sentiment in June," says NAHB chairman Chuck Fowke.
  • "These higher costs have moved some new homes beyond the budget of prospective buyers, which has slowed the strong pace of home building."

Go deeper: The impact of the supply problems is spreading to home finance.

  • Appraisals aren't keeping up with homes' rising market prices, which leads to trouble getting mortgages and construction loans, says NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz.

Fowke called on Washington to lend a hand. "Policymakers need to focus on supply-chain issues in order to allow the economic recovery to continue,” he wrote in his statement.

Context: The latest NAHB index reading is still high by historical standards — anything above 50 is considered positive — but it's a notable shift from a record peak of 90 in November.

  • Lumber prices have pulled back from their high last month, but are still much more expensive than usual.

What to watch: Housing starts data for May is due out later today, and new home sales data for the month will be released June 23.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Sep 22, 2021 - Economy & Business

Building the future depends on building more housing

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

America's troubled urban housing policies are having negative effects that go far beyond high rents and real estate prices.

Why it matters: Decades-old barriers to building more housing in America's most productive cities make it harder to move and live there, which eats into wages, depresses population, saps economic growth, and even worsens climate change.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

5 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.