Remodeling market index

The NAHB's quarterly Remodeling Market Index showed positive results. The current market conditions portion of the index gained nearly a point from the second quarter of 2002, while expectations for the future skyrocketed to their most positive level in two years. Because the RMI isn't seasonally adjusted, comparisons between the same quarter in different years are most telling.

Consumer confidence

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose 4.3 points in August. Consumers are showing their optimism with increased spending.

Panel & lumber prices

Due to rebuilding efforts in Iraq, composite structural panel prices in August shot up 54% from their June average. Forest fires in British Columbia and the western United States contributed to a 22% increase in lumber prices over the same period.

Second mortgage interest rates

Still up more than one point from this summer's record lows, second mortgage interest rates dipped from 5.44% in July to 5.2% at the end of August.

Leading economic indicators

July marked the fourth straight month in which the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators showed an increase. Growth in the second quarter was actually stronger than anticipated.