Home-builder sentiment stalled at low level

By Reuters
Posted Jan. 18 at 9:50 a.m.

U.S. home-builder sentiment in January was flat at a low level for the third month in a row as the housing market struggled to recover from its collapse, a survey released Tuesday showed.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index held steady at 16 from last month.

Economists polled by Reuters expected a rise to 17.

A reading on the home builders’ index above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor. The index has not been above 50 since April 2006.

U.S. housing markets have failed to generate forward momentum after a one-time tax credit for home buyers expired last spring. Many economists expect housing to be a drag on growth even as the broader economic recovery gains momentum.

Analysts said home builder sentiment is likely to increase with an improving economy but would be held back as sales of foreclosed properties clog the market.

“We do not look for rapid gains soon,” said Theresa Chen of Barclays Capital in New York.

Housing markets are expected to show further evidence of only modest gains, if any, in government and industry data to be released later this week.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect December housing starts to remain flat and a slight rise in building permits and existing home sales.


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One comment:

  1. AC Jan. 18 at 1:46 pm

    With hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of empty existing homes, we really don’t need to build new ones (that nobody can afford to buy).

    Maybe we should send more jobs to China?