The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo housing market index rose two points in December to 47, the highest index reading since April 2006. An index reading below 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than view them as good. The reading was in-line with expectations.
The NAHB’s chairman noted:
Builders across the country are reporting some of the best sales conditions they’ve seen in more than five years, with more serious buyers coming forward and a shrinking number of vacant and foreclosed properties on the market. However, one thing that is still holding back potential home sales is the difficulty that many families are encountering in getting qualified for a mortgage due to today’s overly stringent lending standards.
The NAHB also noted that two of the three subindexes were above 50 this month. Current sales expectations rose two points to 51 and sales expectations for the next six months slipped one point to 51. The subindex measuring prospective buyer traffic rose one point to 36.