U.S. home builder confidence continues to rise

Home builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes nationwide has doubled since last September, according to numbers released by the association today. In February, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index rose to 29 from 25 month-over-month. The index measures buyers’ and sellers’ expectations for the market in the next six months.

It is the fifth consecutive month that builder confidence has risen and February’s numbers show the most strength the index has seen in more than four years, a statement from the NAHB said. But NAHB’s chief economist David Crowe cautioned that the improvements must not be interpreted to mean that the housing market is healthy.

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“Foreclosures are still competing with new home sales, and many builders are seeing appraisals come in at less than the cost of construction,” Crowe said adding the NAHB index “is still very low.”

NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg said that while the numbers indicate that the housing market may be headed toward sustainable growth, it is “very fragile,” and different markets vary greatly. — Guelda Voien