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Builder Confidence Rises Fourth Consecutive Time in January


WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 - Builder confidence in the market for newly built,
single-family homes continued to climb for a fourth consecutive month in
January, rising four points to 25 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market
Index (HMI), released today. This is the highest level the index has
attained since June of 2007.

"Builder confidence has now risen four months in a row, with the latest
uptick being universally represented across every index component and
region," noted Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home
Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev. "This good news comes
on the heels of several months of gains in single-family housing starts
and sales, and is yet another indication of the gradual but steady
improvement that is beginning to take hold in an increasing number of
housing markets nationwide -- and that has been shown by our Improving
Markets Index. Policymakers must now take every precaution to avoid
derailing this nascent recovery."

"Builders are seeing greater interest among potential buyers as
employment and consumer confidence slowly improve in a growing number of
markets, and this has helped to move the confidence gauge up from
near-historic lows in the first half of 2011," noted NAHB Chief
Economist David Crowe. "That said, 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."

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more
than 20 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder
perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations
for the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also
asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very
high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores from each component are
then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over
50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.  

Each of the HMI's three component indexes registered a fourth
consecutive month of improvement in January. The component gauging
current sales conditions rose three points to 25, which was its highest
point since June of 2007.  The component gauging sales expectations in
the next six months also rose three points, to 29 -- its highest point
since September 2009. And the component gauging traffic of prospective
buyers rose three points to 21, its highest point since June of 2007. 

The HMI also posted gains in all four regions in January, including a
nine-point gain to 23 in the Northeast, a one-point gain to 24 in the
Midwest, a two-point gain to 27 in the South and a five-point gain to 21
in the West. 

Editor's Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the
product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside
party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at
www.nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also
available at http://www.housingeconomics.com. 

ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a
Washington-based trade association representing more than 160,000
members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction,
property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building
product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light
commercial construction. NAHB is affiliated with 800 state and local
home builders associations around the country. NAHB's builder members
will construct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected for
this year. 
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