Builder confidence in the housing market rose for the eighth straight month in December to its highest point in more than six years.
An index compiled by the National Assn. of Home Builders and Wells Fargo & Co. put the sentiment reading at 47 – the highest since April 2006.
That’s still far from heady readings in the 60s and 70s during the housing bubble. And under 50, it indicates that more builders have a negative outlook than positive.
But the trade group said signs were encouraging.
“Builders across the country are reporting some of the best sales conditions they’ve seen in more than five years, with more serious buyers coming forward and a shrinking number of vacant and foreclosed properties on the market,” NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a homebuilder from Gainesville, Fla., said in a news release.
The biggest problem, according to the builders, was the tight lending standards prevailing today – a distinct contrast to the easy-money practices that led to the mortgage meltdown and housing collapse.
“One thing that is still holding back potentialhomesales is the difficulty that many families are encountering in getting qualified for a mortgage due,” Rutenberg said.