U.S. homebuilder confidence increases in November

The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo confidence index, which gauges confidence among U.S. homebuilders, improved for a second month in November, increasing to a five-month high of 16 from a revised 15 in October, according to www.bloomberg.com. A Bloomberg survey of economists estimated a reading of 17.

Index readings lower than 50 indicate more respondents said conditions were poor. The index averaged 54 during the five years before the recession began but hit a record low of 8 in January 2009.

NAHB's index of current single-family home sales held steady at 16 in November, and sales expectations for the next six months rose from 23 to 25. The measure of buyer traffic rose from 11 to 12.

Builder confidence grew in two of four U.S. regions with a five-point gain in the Midwest and a three-point gain in the West. The South was unchanged at 18 and the Northeast fell three points to 13.

Home seizures in the U.S. fell 9 percent from September to October, which was the biggest decline in a year. Foreclosure filings dropped 4 percent from September to October but were little changed from a year earlier.

A significant number of foreclosures may make it difficult for residential construction to recover, and a high national unemployment rate is restraining housing demand.

Date : 11/22/2010