Confidence among homebuilders for new single-family homes climbed for the fourth straight month in January, as a pickup in housing starts and sales continued seemingly unabated.[IMAGE]
The ""National Association of Home Builders"":http://www.nahb.com/ (NAHB) reported the figures Wednesday in a Housing Market Index it released in collaboration with Wells Fargo.
The results: Homebuilder confidence escalated to the highest level seen since June 2007, ascending by four points to crest at 25 on the index.
""Builder confidence has now risen four months in a row, with the latest uptick being universally represented across every index component and region,"" NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen said in a statement.
He credited results with gains in single-family housing starts[COLUMN_BREAK]
for the last several months, describing it as ""yet another indication of the gradual but steady improvement that is beginning to take hold in an increasing number of housing markets nationwide.""
The index offered gains for the fourth straight month, with indices measuring sales expectations on their way up by three points to 29 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the highest since September 2009.
Prospective buyer traffic meanwhile also posted increases by three points to 21, the highest since June 2007.
Regionally, the index revealed that confidence went up the Northeast by nine points to hit 23. The West delivered five points by rising to 21, while the South climbed two by reaching 27. Only the Midwest ticked up by one point to achieve 24 on the index.
The gains show nonetheless show that homebuilders still see housing conditions somewhat poorly rather than anywhere near good. The NAHB said that anything below 50 for the index translates to a rather poor sentiment among homebuilders.
David Crowe, chief economist with NAHB, said in the statement that ""caution remains the word of the day as many builders continue to voice concerns about potential clients being unable to qualify for an affordable mortgage, appraisals coming through below construction cost, and the continuing flow of foreclosed properties hitting the market.""
Added Nielsen: ""Policymakers must now take every precaution to avoid derailing this nascent recovery.""