Homebuilder confidence in U.S. unexpectedly fell in February

Rising Orders

PulteGroup, the largest U.S. homebuilder by market value, said orders rose 27% in the fourth quarter from the same time a year earlier, while Lennar reported a 32% gain.

Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. luxury-home builder, is among companies looking to garner more sales as builders gear up for the spring selling season, traditionally viewed as starting the weekend after the National Football League’s Super Bowl. The event was held Feb. 3.

“All signs point to a very good spring,” Chief Executive Officer Doug Yearley said in a January interview, citing the number of visitors to Toll Brothers model homes and the amount of closings.

Demand may be outstripping supply, contributing a rising prices. New listings in 21 of the largest U.S. cities plunged 21% in January from a year earlier, according to Redfin, a Seattle-based brokerage.

At the same time, declining mortgage costs are making it cheaper to buy a home for those who qualify for credit. The average fixed rate on a 30-year loan held at 3.53% in the week ended Feb. 14, down from 3.87% a year ago, according to McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac.

Bloomberg News

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