Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes in the United States was virtually unchanged for a fourth consecutive month as mortgage-market problems and inventory issues continued to pose challenges, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The HMI rose a single point to 19 this month following a downwardly revised 18 reading in December and 19 readings in both October and November of 2007.
The NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as either "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as either "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.
In January, the index gauging current sales conditions for single-family homes remained unchanged at 19, while the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months rose two points to 28. Meanwhile, the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers rose one point to 14.
Regionally, the HMI results were mixed in January. The Northeast posted no change at 20, while the Midwest reported a two-point gain to 17 and the South registered a three-point gain to 23. The West posted a five-point decline to an HMI reading of 13.