Confidence among US home builders held steady in January; builders' expectations about future sales dipped



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WASHINGTON — Confidence among U.S. home builders held steady in January even though builders' expectations about future sales dipped slightly.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index stood at 60 in January, matching the December reading, the association reported Tuesday.

The index has been hovering in the low 60s for a number of months. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.

The home builders association is forecasting modest growth for housing this year. David Crowe, chief economist for the group, said the January reading was in line with the forecast.

"The economic outlook remains promising, as consumers regain confidence and home values increase, which will help the housing market move forward," Crowe said.

The builder sentiment index asks builders to rank their perceptions of current sales and expectations for sales over the next six months as good, fair or poor. The January survey found that perceptions about current sales conditions rose two points in January, while the index measuring sales expectations over the next three months fell three points.

The three-month moving averages for builder sentiment were down in all four regions of the country in January with the Northeast, Midwest and West each posting one-point declines while the South region fell by two points.

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