Home-builder Sentiment Holds Steady in April, NAHB Says

Sentiment among home builders was unchanged in April, an industry group said Monday.The National Association of Home Builders’ closely-watched index was 58 for the third-straight month. Any reading over 50 signals improvement. NAHB called the current pace of growth “slow but consistent.” The index’s sub-gauge tracking the current state of sales dipped two points to 63 in April, but the portion that tracks the upcoming six months rose a point to 62. A measure of buyer traffic rose one point to 44. It hasn’t topped the neutral 50 mark since the height of the housing bubble a decade ago. The overall index hit a ten-year high of 65 last fall, but retreated after that. Builders are “cautiously optimistic,” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said in a statement. Economic fundamentals, particularly a stronger job market, should support the housing market overall, but there are still some headwinds for builders, including attracting workers. The number of unfilled construction jobs was at a post-recession high in February. www.marketwatch.com

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