WASHINGTON (12/18/13)--Builders of new single-family homes expressed more confidence in December, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders.
The trade association's Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was up to 58, from 54 in November.
All three components of the measurement were up. Indexes of current sales conditions, sales expectations and traffic of prospective buyers increased by six, two and three points, respectively, to end the month at 64, 62 and 44.
In three out of four census regions, the measurement increased. In the Midwest, West and South, the gauge was up by eight, two and six points to end December at 62, 60 and 61. In the Northeast, the NAHB measurement dropped by four points to 40.
The index reading was higher than prominent forecasts had predicted. Economists polled by Reuters expected the HMI to be at 55 in December (Reuters Dec. 17). Moody's Analysts said that the results--an eight-year high for December--were surprising, given that data showed weak existing home sales and mortgage purchase applications in recent weeks (Economy.com Dec 17).
The Moody's analysts also said that stronger job and income growth is needed to sustain the market by encouraging more young adults to become first-time homeowners.
A measurement of 50 and higher means that more builders view conditions as good than poor.