WASHINGTON -- Ongoing concerns about subprime-related problems in the mortgage market and newfound concerns about rising prime mortgage rates caused builder confidence to decline two more points in June, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released June 18. With a reading of 28, the HMI now is at the lowest level in its current cycle and has reached its lowest point since February 1991.

“It’s clear that the crisis in the subprime sector has prompted tighter lending standards in much of the mortgage market, and interest rates on prime-quality home mortgages have moved up considerably during the past month along with long-term Treasury rates,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “Home sales most likely will erode somewhat further in the months ahead and improvements in housing starts probably will not be recorded until early next year. As a result, we expect housing to exert a drag on economic growth during the balance of 2007.”

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