Builder confidence rises for eighth straight month

Builders are increasingly bullish about the newly built single-family home market, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. The index of builder confidence rose for the eighth consecutive month, and its current level of 47 is the highest it’s been since April 2006. The trend is indicative of the gradual recovery of the nationwide housing market, said David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist, “that we expect to continue in 2013.” Scores above 50 represent positive builder sentiments on the scale, which spans 1-100.

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Builders were buoyed by an increase in the number of serious home buyers, combined with a decreasing vacancy and foreclosure rate, said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg. He did caution, however, that potential sales were still being hamstrung by financing difficulties. “One thing that is still holding back potential home sales is the difficulty that many families are encountering in getting qualified for a mortgage due to today’s overly stringent lending standards,” he said. —Hiten Samtani