The National Association of Home Builders’ gauge of homebuilder sentiment slid to 57 in January from 58 the month prior. The gauge was expected to hold steady for the month.
The NAHB said on Tuesday U.S. homebuilder sentiment fell slightly in January, while the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index fell to 57 from a revised 58 in December. Despite housing data repeatedly missing the mark, the group remained positive in a statement.
“January’s HMI reading is in line with our forecast as we head into the new year,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Steady economic growth, rising consumer confidence and a growing labor market will help the housing market continue to move forward in 2015.”
Economists polled by Reuters had predicted the index would show a reading of 58. Readings above 50 mean more builders view market conditions as favorable than poor. The index has not been below 50 since June 2014.
“After seven months above the key 50 benchmark, builder sentiment is reflecting the gradual improvement that is occurring in many markets throughout the nation,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Delaware.
The single-family home sales component was flat at 62. The gauge of single-family sales expectations for the next six months fell to 60 from 64, while the index of prospective buyer traffic fell to 44 from 46.
The three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores found the West increased by four points to 66, the Midwest clocked in a 3-point gain to 57, and the Northeast was up 2 points to 47. The South dropped by 2 points to 58.