partlycloudy
Saturday May 30th, 2015 10:34AM

Homebuilder confidence at 6-year high

By The Associated Press
LOS ANGELESE - Confidence among U.S. homebuilders inched up this month, to the highest level in more than 6½ years, as builders reported the best market for newly built homes since the housing boom.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday increased 2 points to 47 from a revised 45 in November. That's the highest reading since April 2006, just before the housing bubble burst.

Readings below 50 suggest negative sentiment about the housing market. The last time the index was at or above that level was in April 2006, with a reading of 51. It has been trending higher since October 2011, when it stood at 17.

The index, based on responses from 441 builders, reflects growing optimism that a turnaround will endure after years of stagnation.

"While there is still much room for improvement, the consistent upward trend in builder confidence over the past year is indicative of the gradual recovery that has been taking place in housing markets nationwide and that we expect to continue in 2013," said David Crowe, the NAHB's chief economist.

A component of the latest builder confidence survey that measures current sales conditions rose 2 points to 51, and a gauge of traffic by prospective buyers increased 1 point to 36. Both were the highest readings since April 2006.

However, the index tracking builders' outlook for sales over the next six months slipped 1 point to 51, to where it was two months ago.

More people have started looking to buy homes, encouraged by a gradually improving economy, a steady rise in home values and mortgage rates that have been low all year. At the same time, the inventory of previously occupied homes available for sale has fallen sharply, reducing the competition for newly built homes.

Sales of new homes fell slightly last month, dragged lower by steep declines in the Northeast partly related to Hurricane Sandy. But they were still 17 percent higher in October than the same month a year ago.

Builders are responding to the heightened demand by locking up more land and ramping up construction. All told, builders broke ground on new homes and apartments in October at the fastest pace in more than four years.

Even so, there are factors dragging on the housing recovery. Many Americans, particularly first-time homebuyers, are unable to qualify for a mortgage. And many can't afford larger down payments that are being required by banks.

A component of the latest builder confidence survey that measures current sales conditions rose 2 points to 51, the highest level since April 2006. A gauge of traffic by prospective buyers increased 1 point to 36, also the highest reading since April 2006.

However, the index tracking builders' outlook for sales over the next six months slipped 1 point to 51, back to where it was two months ago.

Though new homes represent only a fraction of the housing market, they have an out-size impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to statistics from the NAHB.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 2 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Ga. ethics legislation could end free tickets
General Assembly approval next year of a proposed ethics reform measure could endanger an important fall tradition for Georgia lawmakers - free football tickets.
6:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Abortion restrictions, tax changes loom in Ga.
Tax breaks for manufacturers and higher unemployment taxes for employers take effect with the new year in Georgia, but it remains to be seen whether the state's newest abortion restrictions will be enforced.
6:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Business News
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Gainesville Councilwoman Bruner will run for re-election
Gainesville City Councilwoman Ruth Bruner confirmed Saturday that she will run for re-election to her Ward 5 post.
10:16AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Pedestrian who allegedly caused Sardis Rd. wreck identified
The pedestrian who allegedly caused a wreck on Sardis Road near Gainesville Thursday that left five people injured has been identified.
8:47AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP source: Hastert paid to keep old sex abuse claims secret
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert paid hush money to conceal claims that the Illinois Republican sexually molested someone decades ago, a person familiar with the allegations said.
8:13AM ( 2 hours ago )
GSP: DUI drugs cited in wreck with church bus
A wreck that injured more than a dozen people aboard a church bus near Toccoa Thursday night is being blamed on a driver who allegedly was under the influence of drugs.
11:38PM ( 10 hours ago )
One killed, another injured in Cumming car accident
One person was killed and another seriously injured early Friday evening in a two-vehicle collision in Forsyth County.
9:49PM ( 12 hours ago )