Builder optimism down, except in Northeast

Dec. 15, 2010 at 4:04 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Builder confidence in the U.S. housing market rose in the Northeast and was little unchanged elsewhere in December, a national trade association said.

The builder confidence index fell 4 points in the Midwest and West, dropping to 13 and 11, respectively, the National Association of Home Builders said Wednesday.

Confidence among builders fell 1 point in the South to 17. In the Northeast, however, confidence rose 12 points to 24 in the latest survey.

Due to its small survey sample, the NAHB said, the index in the Northeast "can display greater month-to-month volatility" compared to other regions.

Overall, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said, "The steady, but low level of the Home Market Index reflects the fact that builders and consumers have yet to see consistent signs that the economy is improving."

"The good news," he said, "is that the index … remains above recent lows from the early fall."

The bad news? "However, the continued problems that builders are facing in obtaining construction credit and accurate appraisal values could significantly slow the onset of a housing recovery," he said in a statement.

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