The NAHB housing market index for April fell to 42.
This is down from 44 in March. Homebuilder confidence also missed expectations for a rise to 45.
But the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months climbed three points to 53, the highest level since February 2007.
"Many builders are expressing frustration over being unable to respond to the rising demand for new homes due to difficulties in obtaining construction credit, overly restrictive mortgage lending rules and construction costs that are increasing at a faster pace than appraised values," said Rick Judson, NAHB Chairman in a press release.
"While sales conditions are generally improving, these challenges are holding back new building and job creation."
Paul Diggle at Capital Economics has previously warned that capacity constraints among mortgage lenders is one of the crucial bottlenecks to the housing recovery.
The National Association of Home Builders' housing market index is a sentiment index in which respondents rate not just the housing market but also the economy in general.
The index draws on builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months. It also includes builders' expectations of traffic of prospective buyers. A reading of 50 shows that an equal number of builders view the market as good or bad.
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