"The steady but low level of the HMI reflects the fact that builders and consumers have yet to see consistent signs that the economy is improving," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "The good news is that the index and its subcomponents remain above recent lows from the early fall. NAHB expects an improving job market this spring will help prospective buyers feel more confident and propel more sales activity in 2011. However, the continued problems that builders are facing in obtaining construction credit and accurate appraisal values could significantly slow the onset of a housing recovery."
Hesitancy among potential home buyers had been a key driver of builders' low sentiment in recent months as uncertain consumers did not yet feel secure enough with the jobs market and overall economy to make such large purchasing decisions.Near-record-low mortgage rates failed to spark robust demand for housing in recent months. The U.S. housing market continues to struggle and has been under tremendous pressure for some time. Demand fell further after the expiration of federal tax credits for homebuyers earlier this year. Some potential homebuyers have decided to go ahead and sign contracts, hoping to lock in still-low rates. Homebuilder
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