Builder confidence rises in September

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes rose for the first time in seven months in September, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

The index, released Sept. 16, rose two points to 18 -- up from its record low of the previous two months. All three of the HMI’s component indexes, which measure current sales conditions, traffic of prospective buyers and sales expectations for the next six months, showed gains.

NAHB president Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va., attributed the rise to builder optimism. “Many are sensing that home sales are nearing a turning point with the support of the newly enacted first-time home buyer tax credit,” Dunn said. “Meanwhile, with the government’s explicit backing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now assured, this should help keep mortgage rates at very favorable levels going forward.”

All regions also posted some degree of improvement in the September HMI, with the Midwest, South and West each up two points, to 15, 22 and 12, respectively. The Northeast posted a six-point gain to 22.