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Builder Confidence Unchanged in March, Remains Near Historic Low

Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes remained unchanged in March, hovering near an all-time low as the market continues to wait for a turnaround. The latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, released Monday, held firm at 20 -- near its historic low of 18 set in December of 2007. Despite sagging builder confidence, the president of the National Association of Home Builders suggested there might be more confidence in the market than the survey suggested. "Our surveys confirm what I've been hearing personally from builders across the country, which is that interested buyers are out there, but they are either reluctant to go ahead with a home purchase or they are unable to find mortgage financing they can afford," said NAHB president Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, West Virginia. NAHB chief economist David Seiders said that builder confidence would likely be signficantly bolstered by additional Congressional action. "With the deepening problems in today's economy and financial markets, Congress and the Administration should enact additional stimulative measures, and the next round should be directed squarely at the housing sector," he said. "A temporary home buyer tax credit, FHA modernization and GSE oversight reform are the three most important things that Congress can accomplish right now to help ensure that housing does not drag the economy into a full-blown recession. Provided that the necessary actions are taken promptly, a housing market recovery most likely would take shape by the second half of this year." Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 20 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months. For more information, visit http://www.nahb.com.

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