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US Homebuilder Confidence Treads Water for Second Straight Month: NAHB

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US Homebuilder Confidence Treads Water for Second Straight Month: NAHB

US homebuilder confidence was relatively unchanged this month, a sign the housing sector will need time to rebound from the winter downturn that saw homebuilder confidence plunge ten points in February.

The Housing Market Index, courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders, rose from 46 to 47 this month. A median estimate of economists in a Reuters survey called for 50, the level that separates positive sentiment from negative.

“Job growth is proceeding at a solid pace, mortgage interest rates remain historically low and home prices are affordable,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe in a press release. “While these factors point to a gradual improvement in housing demand, headwinds that are holding up a more robust recovery include ongoing tight credit conditions for home buyers and the fact that builders in many markets are facing a limited availability of lots and labor.”

The gauge of current sales conditions held steady at 51. The index of prospective buyer traffic was also unchanged at 32. The gauge of future sales expectations rose four points to 57.

Homebuilder confidence declined across all four regions of the United States, NAHB data showed. The HMI three-month moving average fell nine points to 51 in the West. The Midwest saw its HMI decline four points to 49. The Northeast and South each fell two points to 33 and 47, respectively.

The Commerce Department will report on March housing starts and building permits Wednesday. Housing starts rose sharply last month, while building permits declined gently, according to forecasts.

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