Confidence among U.S. homebuilders took an unexpected step backward in December, as fewer potential buyers toured their properties. A monthly index from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) fell one point to 61. Fifty is the line between positive and negative, so sentiment is still good overall, but the expectation had been for a one point gain.
"For the past seven months, builder confidence levels have averaged in the low 60s, which is in line with a gradual, consistent recovery," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "With job creation, economic growth and growing household formations, we anticipate the housing market to continue to pick up traction as we head into 2016."