For the fourth time in as many months, builder confidence in the single-family, new-home market remained at 16 in January, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). On a scale for which anything below 50 means the majority of builders see conditions as “poor” rather than “good,” the results indicated a nationally pessimistic mood. When broken down by region, the sun seemed to be rising in the West. The seasonally adjusted scores rose four points and one point in the West and Midwest, respectively, while falling two points in the Northeast and one point in the South.

“The HMI and its subcomponent indexes are holding steady following a below-expectations finish in 2010,” says David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. “At this point, housing remains on the sidelines of a weak economic recovery as consumers and builders wait for clear and consistent indications that jobs and economic output are reviving. Meanwhile, the problems that builders continue to confront in obtaining production financing, and in maintaining performing lines of credit, threaten to significantly slow the onset of a housing recovery.”

Sales expectations for the next six months, at 25, also refused to budge despite a slight uptick in prospective buyer traffic this month, bringing it up one point to 12.

Claire Easley is senior editor, online, for Builder.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Greenville, SC.