NEW YORK Jan 16 U.S. homebuilder confidence
faded a bit at the start of 2014, although most developers
expected the housing recovery to continue, data from the
National Association of Home Builders released on Thursday
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index dipped to 56
points in January from a downwardly revised 57 in December. The
December reading originally reported at 58 was the highest level
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a January reading
of 58, with a reading of 50 or higher indicating more builders
view conditions as good than poor.
"Following an unexpected jump last month, builder confidence
has essentially leveled out and is holding at a solid level,"
NAHB Chairman Rick Judson said in a statement. "Many markets
continue to improve and this bodes well for future home sales."
The home builder confidence index, which is seen as a proxy
on housing construction, has been above 50 for eight straight
The Commerce Department will release its December housing
starts data at 8:30 a.m. (1530 GMT) on Friday.
Economists polled by Reuters forecast developers broke
ground for single-family homes and apartment buildings at an
annualized rate of 990,000 units last month. This followed a
November pace of 1.091 million units which was the strongest
level since February 2008.
All three NAHB survey components fell in January from their
The measure on home builders' view on current sales
conditions fell to 62 from a downwardly revised 63. The
initially reported December reading of 64 was the highest level
since December 2005.
The index on expectations on future sales fell 2 points to
60, while the gauge on traffic of prospective buyers declined to
40 from downwardly revised 43.
"Rising home prices, historically low mortgage rates and
significant pent-up demand will drive a continuing, gradual
recovery in the year ahead," said NAHB Chief Economist David
Crowe. "However, the pace of the recovery could be stronger were
it not for rising construction costs and inaccurate appraisals
that are keeping some home sales from going through."
(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)