Home builder sentiment dips in September: NAHB

NEW YORK Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:03am EDT

A foreclosed home is seen for sale in Santa Ana, California, May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A foreclosed home is seen for sale in Santa Ana, California, May 24, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Homebuilder sentiment dipped in September with an industry index mired in a low range as the housing market continues to struggle, the National Association of Home Builders said on Monday.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index slipped 1 point to 14 from 15 the month before, the group said in a statement. That was shy of expectations for 15, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

Readings below 50 mean more builders view market conditions as poor than favorable. The index has been stuck between 13 and 16 for six months in a row, and has not been above 50 since April 2006.

"Very little has changed in terms of housing market conditions so far this year," NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen said in a statement. "Builders continue to confront the same challenges in accessing construction credit, obtaining accurate appraisal values for new homes, and competing against foreclosed properties that they have seen for some time."

The gauge of sales expectations in the next six months slipped to 17 from 19.

A glut of homes for sale, ongoing foreclosures and weak prices have hamstrung the sector, while buyers have mostly stayed on the sidelines.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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