U.S. homebuilder confidence held steady in January, coming close to the gauge’s eight-year high and boding well for continued growth in the year ahead.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment gauge fell to 56 in January, from 57 in December, but readings above 50 still mean most respondents are reporting good market conditions, according to Bloomberg News. Estimates among 52 economists ranged from 55 to 60, and the December reading has been revised down from a previous estimate of 58 — a benchmark that was the measure’s highest since November 2005.
“Many markets continue to improve and this bodes well for future home sales,” Rick Judson, NAHB chairman and home builder from Charlotte, N.C., said in a statement to Bloomberg.
The six-month sales outlook measured slipped to 60 from 62, and prospective home buyer traffic fell to 40 from 43 in December, the NAHB data show. And an index of currently available single-family homes dropped slightly, to 62 from 63.
Builder confidence was on the upswing in the Northeast and West, but tumbled by seven points in the South. [Bloomberg News] — Julie Strickland