US housebuilders gloomy as job market woes weigh

CONCERNS about the poor job market and a further wave of home foreclosures depressed the confidence of US housebuilders in early January, an industry trade group reported yesterday.

The home builders’ sentiment index declined to 15 in January from 16 in December, the National Association of Home Builders reported. The index, now at the lowest since June, has declined in three of the past four months.

At 15, the index indicates that about one-in-six builders thinks the market is “good.” The builders’ assessment of current buying conditions and the traffic of potential buyers declined in January. Their assessment of future buying conditions was steady.

The report showed traffic slowed to a 10-month low, indicating the government’s expansion of its first-time buyer programme has, so far, not drawn in new demand.