WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- A U.S. builders' confidence index is virtually flat in November after a slight dip in October, the National Association of Home Builders said Monday.
The index of confidence among building professionals reached a nearly eight-year peak in August after tumbling during the U.S. recession. It then went flat in September, dipped in October and leveled off again in November.
For November, the so-called NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index held at 54.
The index reflects results of a survey taken the first half of each month.
Conditions remain uncertain, but November is the sixth consecutive month in which the index came in above 50, which occurs when more builders rate business conditions as good than those who rate them as poor.
"Given the current interest rate and pricing environment, consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes, but are holding back because Congress keeps pushing critical decisions on budget, tax and government spending issues down the road," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson.
"Meanwhile, builders continue to face challenges related to rising construction costs and low appraisals," he said.
The trade group's chief economist, David Crowe, also said gridlock in Washington was hurting the industry.
"Policy and economic uncertainty is undermining consumer confidence," he said.
"The fact that builder confidence remains above 50 is an encouraging sign, considering the unresolved debt and federal budget issues cause builders and consumers to remain on the sideline," he said.