U.S. homebuilder sentiment fell modestly in January, but builder sentiment remained stronger than the early months of 2014, the National Association of Home Builders said on Tuesday.
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The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index fell to 57 from a revised 58 in December, the group said in a statement. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted the index would show a reading of 58.
Readings above 50 mean more builders view market conditions as favorable than poor. The index has not been below 50 since June 2014.
"After seven months above the key 50 benchmark, builder sentiment is reflecting the gradual improvement that is occurring in many markets throughout the nation," said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.
The single-family home sales component was flat at 62. The gauge of single-family sales expectations for the next six months fell to 60 from 64, while the index of prospective buyer traffic fell to 44 from 46. (Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)