US homebuilder confidence, sales expectations slip in January; outlook still favorable overall

IndustriesAssociated Press

U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less confident in their sales prospects ahead of the spring homebuying season, traditionally the peak period for home sales.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index slipped this month to 57, down one point from 58 in December.

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Even so, builders' overall sales outlook remains favorable.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.

Builders' outlook for sales over the next six months and a measure of traffic by prospective buyers both declined, while a view of current sales conditions held steady.

The latest reading is consistent with the NAHB's forecast for the U.S. housing market will continue to improve at a gradual pace this year.