Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes held steady at 60 in January from a downwardly revised December reading of 60 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
"After eight months hovering in the low 60s, builder sentiment is reflecting that many markets continue to show a gradual improvement, which should bode well for future home sales in the year ahead," said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.
"January's HMI reading is right in line with our forecast of modest growth for housing," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "The economic outlook remains promising, as consumers regain confidence and home values increase, which will help the housing market move forward."
Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 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 for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.
The HMI component gauging current sales condition rose two points 67 in January. The index measuring sales expectations in the next six months fell three points to 63, and the component charting buyer traffic dropped two points to 44.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, all four regions registered slight declines. The Northeast, Midwest and West each posted a one-point decline to 49, 57 and 75, respectively, while the South fell two points to 61.