By Ian McKendry

WASHINGTON (MNI) – The National Association of Home Builder/Wells
Fargo Housing Market Index did not budge in May versus April, holding at
16 as builders remain worried about competition from distressed

“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,” NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen said
in statement accompanying the index’s release Monday.

According to builders surveyed by the NAHB, 90% said their clients
are “concerned about selling their existing home at a favorable price.”

Another 73% of builders said their clients are concerned about
tight credit and fear they may not be able to get financing.

“Clearly, access to credit for both builders and buyers remains a
considerable obstacle to the revival of the new-homes market,” NAHB
chief economist David Crowe said in a statement Monday.

The overall NAHB index remained flat at 16, single family sales
improved one point from 15 to 16, the perception on single family sales
over the next six months declined two points from 22 to 20, and the
traffic of prospective buyers index improved from 13 to 14.

The NAHB/Well Fargo HMI is seasonally adjusted and any number over
50 indicates builders’ views that sales conditions are “good” and
anything less than 50 indicates builders view sales conditions as

“Regionally, the HMI results were mixed, with the Northeast posting
a five point decline to 15, the Midwest posting no change at 14, the
South posting a one point gain to 16, and the West posting a two point
decline to 16,” the NAHB said.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **