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Home builder sentiment barely budges in April, misses estimates

Confidence among home builders in the market for new, single-family homes remained in a holding pattern in April, ticking up just one point.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose to 47 from a downwardly revised reading of 46 the month before. The reading disappointed analysts who had expected it to rise to 49, according to a Reuters poll.

A reading of more than 50 indicates more builders view market conditions as favorable than poor. Readings from June to January were higher than 50—before snapping below that mark in February.

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"Job growth is proceeding at a solid pace, mortgage interest rates remain historically low and home prices are affordable," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "While these factors point to a gradual improvement in housing demand, headwinds that are holding up a more robust recovery include ongoing tight credit conditions for home buyers and the fact that builders in many markets are facing a limited availability of lots and labor."

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The survey's results came amid a drop in mortgage rates from earlier this month, according to the latest data available from Freddie Mac.

Of the index's three components, two were unchanged. Gauges of current sales conditions and of prospective buyer traffic were unchanged. Builder expectations for sales in the future ticked up.

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The index's three-month moving average fell across the board in its four regions: the West, Midwest, Northeast and South.

By CNBC's Katie Little

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  • Diana Olick

    Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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