Builder Confidence Ends 8-Month Up Trend

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WASHINGTON (UPI) — Builders’ confidence in the new single-family homes market stalled in January over U.S. budget “uncertainties,” after eight months of gains, a trade group said.

The National Association of Home Builders said Wednesday the Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for builder confidence halted an eight-month climb at 47, which it reached when it climbed 2 points in December.

The market is improved from a year earlier and the index held to its highest level since April 2006 in the first month of the year, NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg said in a statement.

“However, uncertainties stemming from last month’s fiscal cliff negotiations contributed to the pause in builder confidence,” he said, adding that continued budget discussions revolving around spending cuts, “could put a damper on housing demand in the coming months.”

The upswing has put the index “very close to the … tipping point of 50, where an equal number of builders view conditions as good and poor,” NAHB Chief Executive Officer David Crowe said.

Restrictive credit conditions problems with getting accurate appraisals and “the ongoing stalemate in Washington … continue to impede the housing recovery,” he said.

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