Homebuilder Confidence Remains Low

Sentiment among U.S. homebuilders remained unchanged in September as high unemployment continues to deter consumers from considering buying homes, a survey by the National Association of Home Builders said on Monday.

New home construction
New home construction

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, a monthly survey of that measures builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months, was at 13 in September, the same as the previous month. Any number below 50 means sentiment is poor.

“In general, builders haven’t seen any reason for improved optimism in market conditions over the past month,” said National Association of Home Builders Chairman Bob Jones in a statement. “If anything, consumer uncertainty has increased, and builders feel their hands are tied until potential home buyers feel more secure about the job market and economy.”

The index was at its highest this year in May, when the number was 22. Since then the number has steadily fallen, reaching it’s lowest point this year in August, when the index first hit 13.

Part of the reason for the low sentiment is the hesitancy builders see among potential home buyers, said National Association of Home Builder’s Chief Economist David Crowe in a statement.

“It also reflects the frustration that builders are feeling regarding the effects that foreclosed property sales are having on the new-homes market, with 87 percent of respondents reporting that their market has been negatively impacted by foreclosures,” Crowe said.

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  • 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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