U.S. homebuilder sentiment declined slightly in December, according to a report released on Monday by the National Association of Home Builders.
“After a sluggish start to 2014, the HMI has stabilized in the mid-to-high 50s index level trend for the past six months, which is consistent with our assessment that we are in a slow march back to normal,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “As we head into 2015, the housing market should continue to recover at a steady, gradual pace.”
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell to 57 in December, down one point from 58 in November, and below the year’s peak of 59 in September. However, after a soft spring, builders remained relatively more optimistic.
“Members in many markets across the country have seen their businesses improve over the course of the year, and we expect builders to remain confident in 2015,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.
Still, despite two of the three HMI components posting slight losses in December, the reading marks the sixth consecutive month above 50, which is the threshold for whether builders see the environment as generally favorable or unfavorable.
A gauge of single-family home sales sentiment fell to 61 from 62, while an index of single-family home sales sentiment for the next six months fell to 65 from 66.