A gauge of confidence among home builders fell in March for third month in a row and touched the lowest level since last summer, a signal that low mortgage rates and faster job growth still haven't translated into a much stronger housing market. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing-market index dropped 2 points to 53 in March. That's the lowest level since July, though readings above 50 mean that builders are generally optimistic. "The drop in builder confidence is largely attributable to supply chain issues, such as lot and labor shortages as well as tight underwriting standards," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. Yet he asserted that sales should pick up as the weather warms and an improved economy drums up more demand for housing. "These obstacles notwithstanding, we are expecting solid gains in the housing market this year," he added, "buoyed by sustained job growth, low mortgage interest rates and pent-up demand."
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