msnbc.com
updated 8/15/2011 10:38:51 AM ET 2011-08-15T14:38:51

Builder confidence in the residential real estate market remains unchanged at a low level as the construction industry faces a persistent environment of sluggish sales and falling prices, a trade group said Monday.

"The uncertain economic climate and concerns about job security are discouraging many potential buyers from exploring a home purchase at this time," said David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association for Home Builders, which publishes the monthly index.

"While buying conditions are very favorable in terms of prices, interest rates and selection, consumers are worried about what the future will bring, and builders are echoing those sentiments in their responses to the (confidence) survey."

The group said 41 percent of builders responding to the survey said they had lost sales contracts due to buyers' inability to sell their current homes.

The builders' Housing Market Index, at 15, was unchanged from July. A score of 50 or more indicates more builders believe the market is good than those who believe it is poor.

The index has not been above 50 since April 2006. It hit a low of 8 in January 2009.

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