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Home-builder confidence drops

WASHINGTON, July 19 (UPI) -- Confidence in business conditions among single-family home builders fell in July to the lowest level in more than a year, a U.S. industry group said Monday.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index declined two points to 14 during the month after dropping five points in June.

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The monthly survey uses 50 as a break-even point with higher numbers indicating more builders rate business conditions as "good" than "poor."

"We continue to see a lull in home-buying activity following the expiration of the federal home-buyer tax credit program," NAHB Chairman Bob Jones said in a statement.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said, "The pause in sales ... is turning out to be longer than anticipated due to the sluggish pace of improvement in the rest of the economy."

However, Crowe said, affordable prices, low mortgage interest rates and demographic factors would likely push new-home sales up by 10 percent this year compared to 2009.

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