Home builders might be seeing some bright spots on the horizon, but they're not yet willing to take them seriously, according to the January survey of builder confidence taken by the National Association of Home Builders.
The NAHB's Housing Market Index (HMI) remained at 16 for the third consecutive month in January, one point below analyst expectations.
"The HMI and its subcomponent indexes are holding steady following a below-expectations finish in 2010," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe."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."
The HMI component indices also were flat. The index measuring current sales conditions held at 16, the index of sales expectations for the next six months remained at 25 and that gauging traffic of prospective buyers rose one point to 12.
Regionally, the Northeast dropped two points to a 20, the Midwest rose a point to 14 in the Midwest, the South dropped a point to 17 and the West rose four points to 15. Any number over 50 indicates a positive outlook, below negative.
"As we emerge from the traditionally slow holiday season, builders continue to look for signs of improvement in the economy, home buyer demand and builder and consumer credit conditions," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev. "Unfortunately, a severe lack of construction financing and widespread difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisal values continue to limit builders' ability to prepare for anticipated improvements in buyer demand in 2011."