Builder confidence rises

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Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes continued to climb for a fourth consecutive month in January, rising four points to 25 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. This is the highest level the index has attained since June 2007.

“Builder confidence has now risen four months in a row, with the latest uptick being universally represented across every index component and region,” National Association of Home Builders chairman Bob Nielsen said in a statement. “This good news comes on the heels of several months of gains in single-family housing starts and sales, and is yet another indication of the gradual but steady improvement that is beginning to take hold in an increasing number of housing markets nationwide — and that has been shown by our Improving Markets Index.”

“Builders are seeing greater interest among potential buyers as employment and consumer confidence slowly improve in a growing number of markets and this has helped to move the confidence gauge up from near-historic lows in the first half of 2011,” National Association of Home Builders chief economist David Crowe said. “That said, caution remains the word of the day as many builders continue to voice concerns about potential clients being unable to qualify for an affordable mortgage, appraisals coming through below construction cost, and the continuing flow of foreclosed properties hitting the market.”

The HMI also posted gains in all four regions in January, including a nine-point gain to 23 in the Northeast, a one-point gain to 24 in the Midwest, a two-point gain to 27 in the South and a five-point gain to 21 in the West.

For information, visit www.nahb.org/hmi.

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