The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo housing market index remained unchanged in January, at 47, still clinging to 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 slightly below an expected reading of 48.
The NAR’s chief economist noted:
Builders’ sentiment remains very close to the index’s tipping point of 50, where an equal number of builders view conditions as good and poor, and fundamentals indicate continued momentum in housing this year. However, persistently tight mortgage credit conditions, difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisals and the ongoing stalemate in Washington over critical economic concerns continue to impede the housing recovery.
The NAHB noted that the three sub-indexes were mixed this month. Current sales expectations remained unchanged at 51 and sales expectations for the next six months slipped one point, to 49. The sub-index measuring prospective buyer traffic rose one point, to 37.