The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), announced Wednesday, took another leg downward, falling from its previous record low of 9 in November and December to new record low of 8 in January. The index is based on a scale of 100 on which any reading over 50 is considered positive, under 50, negative.

"Clearly, conditions in the nation's housing market aren't getting any better," said NAHB chairman Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va. Speaking from NAHB's annual convention, the International Builders' Show being held in Las Vegas this week, Dunn repeated the industry's calls for a stimulus package to jump start the housing sector through enhanced home buyer tax credits and a government buy-down of mortgage rates for home purchases in 2009.

All of the HMI's component indexes remained at or near historic lows in January. The index gauging current sales conditions dropped two points to 6. The indices gauging sales expectations for the next six months and traffic of prospective buyers each rose one point, to 17 and 8, respectively.

Regionally, the HMI fell one point to 10 in the Northeast, remained at 6 in the Midwest, rose one point to 11 in the South and fell 3 points to a new record low of 4 in the West.