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Homebuilder sentiment unchanged at low levels in May

U.S. homebuilder sentiment was unchanged at low levels in May as on-going foreclosures and tight credit kept buyers reluctant to get into the market.
/ Source: Reuters

U.S. homebuilder sentiment was unchanged at low levels in May as on-going foreclosures and tight credit kept buyers reluctant to get into the market, the National Association of Home Builders said on Monday.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index held at 16, the group said in a statement. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to rise to 17.

Readings below 50 mean more builders view market conditions as poor than favorable. The index has not been above 50 since April 2006.

High gasoline prices further exacerbated consumers' anxiety, NAHB said.

"Builder confidence has hardly budged over the past six months as persistent concerns regarding competition from distressed property sales, lack of production credit, inaccurate appraisals, and proposals to reduce government support of housing have continued to cloud the outlook," NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen said in a statement.