Homebuilder confidence up slightly in November
Homebuilder's confidence in the housing market rose slightly in November as prospective buyers gave more consideration to making a purchase. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo (WFC) Market Index, increased one notch to 16 in November from the previous month. The index measures builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and expectations for the next six months. Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good. "Many builders are reporting that while the quantity of buyer traffic through their model homes has not improved dramatically, the quality of that traffic seems to be getting better – meaning that more people appear to be serious about buying in the near future," NAHB Chairman Bob Jones said. Analysts at Fiserv and Standard & Poor's hold a less rosier view. Both issued reports this week forecasting a further drop in home prices of at least 7% as demand shrivels. The home sales expectation component of the homebuilder index rose two points to 25 in November. The outlook for gauging prospective buyer traffic rose one point to 12, but was unchanged at 16 for current sales. Still Jones said homebuilders continue to fret about financing new construction. "Builders remain very concerned, however, about the lack of available financing for new-home construction at a time when inventories of completed new homes are quite thin; after all, you can't sell what you can't build," Jones said. Write to Jon Prior.