Inching forward by the largest margin since May 2010, homebuilder confidence ticked up two points from a downwardly revised 21 for single-family homes, according to the ""National Association of Home Builders"":http://www.nahb.org/default.aspx (NAHB).[IMAGE]
The trade group adjusted for homebuilder confidence by releasing results from a 20-year-old monthly survey, which values sentiment as ""good"" if above 50 and ""poor"" if below. It described the two-point rise Monday as one on rebound for the third consecutive month.
""While builder confidence remains low, the consistent gains registered over the past several months are an indication that pockets of recovery are slowly starting to emerge in scattered
housing markets,"" NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen said in a ""statement"":http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?sectionID=148&newsID=14384.
""However, the difficulties that both builders and buyers continue to experience in accessing credit for new homes are holding back potential sales even in areas where economic conditions are improving,"" he added.
Current sales conditions climbed two points to 22, according to the NAHB, while sales expectations for the next six months moved up to 26, reflecting a one-point increase.
The index recorded a three-point gain in prospective buyer traffic that accelerated the measure to 18, the highest level seen since May 2008.
Regionally, the South showed many of the gains in December, with a leap forward by four points brought builder confidence to 25, the most since March 2008. The West signaled a one-point climb to 16, with points in the Midwest stable at 24 and falling by one to 15 for the Northeast.
Commenting on the figures, NAHB chief economist David Crowe said that an improvement in homebuilder confidence ""signifies a legitimate though slowly emerging upward trend.
""While large inventories of foreclosed properties continue to plague the most distressed markets and consumer worries about job security and the challenges of selling an existing home remain significant factors, builders are reporting more inquiries and more interest among potential buyers than they have seen in previous months,"" he added in the statement.