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Home builders a touch less confident in the new year

Jan. 16, 2014 at 10:48 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A U.S. builders' confidence index slipped one point to 56 in December, the National Association of Home Builders said Thursday.

"Following an unexpected jump last month, builder confidence has essentially leveled out and is holding at a solid level," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson in a statement.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which focuses on builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes, has held above 50 for eight months.

Judson said the upcoming months "bodes well for future home sales."

"Rising home prices, historically low mortgage rates and significant pent-up demand will drive a continuing gradual recovery in the year ahead," echoed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

"Rising construction costs and inaccurate appraisals," however, are holding back the pace of the recovery for the home builders market, he said.

The trade association said that slight drop in confidence was across the board with a decline of all three component indexes, including current sales conditions, sales expectations and traffic of prospective buyers.

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