US homebuilder sentiment slips, but generally positive outlook

U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less optimistic about their prospects, even if their overall outlook remains favorable.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday slipped to 68 this month. That is three points from 71 in March, when he made the jump to the highest level since June 2005.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than bad. The index has been above 60 since September.

The April reading fell short of analysts predictions. They expected that the index will dive to 70, according to FactSet.

Measurements measure the builders of the sales now and in the next six months also edged lower, just as a measure of traffic by prospective buyers.

Despite the decline in the latest builder sentiment survey, sales of new AMERICAN houses have been robust this year and is expected to continue to climb.

Low mortgage rates and a hard job market have helped drive home sales steadily higher. Sales of new U.S. houses in February at the fastest pace since July, to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 592,000. That the sales pace was nearly 13 percent higher than in the same month last year.

A pick-up in mortgage rates last fall to help stimulate the sale early this year. In the past few weeks, mortgage rates are edging lower, making the cost of the loans less expensive.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has fallen over the past four weeks, to refuse to 4.08 percent last week. That’s up from an average of 3.65 percent of all last year, but still low by historical standards.

This month builder index was based on 307 respondents.

A measure of current sales conditions for single-family homes fell three points to 74, while a gauge of traffic by prospective buyers fell one point to 52. Builders’ view of the turnover in the next six months slid three points to 75.

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