The Boston Globe

Home builder confidence drops
The Boston Globe

Confidence among US home builders unexpectedly dropped this month to the lowest level since June, a sign the housing recovery might stall in coming months.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence decreased from 16 to 15 last month, the Washington-based group said yesterday. Readings below 50 mean most respondents view conditions as poor.

The report showed traffic slowed to a 10-month low, indicating the government’s extension and expansion of its first-time buyer program so far has not drawn new demand. A projected record 3 million foreclosures this year could also pressure prices, making it more difficult for homebuilders to turn a profit.

The builder confidence index was forecast to increase to 17 this month, according to the median forecast of 45 economists. Projections ranged from 14 to 18. The index averaged 15 last year.

The builders index of single-family home sales fell from 16 in December to 15 in January.