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U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Holds Steady In March


Homebuilder confidence in the U.S. has held steady in the month of March, according to a report released by the National Association of Home Builders on Monday.

The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index came in at 62 in March, unchanged from February. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 63.

"Builders report the market is stabilizing following the slowdown at the end of 2018 and they anticipate a solid spring home buying season," said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde.

The unchanged reading by the homebuilder confidence index reflected a mixed performance by the three index components.

While the component charting sales expectations in the next six months rose three points to 71 and the component gauging current sales conditions increased two points to 68, the component measuring traffic of prospective buyers fell four points to 44.

"In a healthy sign for the housing market, more builders are saying that lower price points are selling well, and this was reflected in the government's new home sales report released last week," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

He added, "Increased inventory of affordably priced homes - in markets where government policies support such construction - will enable more entry-level buyers to enter the market."

Last Thursday, the Commerce Department released a separate report showing a substantial pullback in U.S. new home sales in the month of January.

The Commerce Department said new home sales plunged by 6.9 percent to an annual rate of 607,000 in January from a revised rate of 652,000 in December.

Economists had expected new home sales to edge down to a rate of 620,000 from the 621,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The median sales price of new houses sold in January was $317,200, down 0.6 percent from $319,100 in December and down 3.8 percent from $329,600 a year ago.

The report also said the estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 336,000, representing 6.6 months of supply at the current sales rate.

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