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U.S. Housing Market Stalls

Posted by Joseph Trevisani on Nov 18, 2013 2:31:00 PM

American home builders' confidence was flat in November buffeted by higher mortgage rates and a weak job market but firms nonetheless continued their longest streak of positive reading in over six years.

The Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) remained at 54, the same as the downwardly revised score in October. Economists surveyed by Reuters had predicted an increase to 56.

The index turned above the 50 dividing line between negative and positive sentiment in June, meaning that more builders viewed market conditions as good than poor. 

"Given the current interest rate and pricing environment, consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes, but are holding back because Congress keeps pushing critical decisions on budget, tax and government spending issues down the road," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson in the statement accompanying the release.

Two of the overall index's three components fell. Considerations of future sales declined one point to 60 and the measure of prospective buyer traffic slid one point to 42. The gauge of current selling conditions was unchanged at 58.

"The fact that builder confidence remains above 50 is an encouraging sign, considering the unresolved debt and federal budget issues cause builders and consumers to remain on the sideline."said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe in the prepared statement with the release.

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