Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes was unchanged in January, remaining at a level of 47 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. This figure follows eight consecutive monthly gains. The index continues to hold at its highest level since April of 2006.
"Conditions in the housing market look much better now than at the beginning of 2012, and an increasing number of housing markets are showing signs of recovery, which should bode well for future home sales later this year," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "However, uncertainties stemming from last month's fiscal cliff negotiations contributed to the pause in builder confidence and continuing discussions among policymakers related to spending cuts, and the future of the mortgage interest deduction could put a damper on housing demand in the coming months."
NAHB chief economist David Crowe said: "Builders' sentiment remains very close to the index's tipping point of 50, where an equal number of builders view conditions as good and poor, and fundamentals indicate continued momentum in housing this year. However, persistently tight mortgage credit conditions, difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisals and the ongoing stalemate in Washington over critical economic concerns continue to impede the housing recovery."
Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number more than 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.