March home-builders index up a point to 17 ( LEN TOL PHM SPF RYL MTH KBH MDC ) (by Steve Goldstein)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index edged up a point to 17 in March, marking the highest reading since May 2010, when the survey period corresponded with the final days of the federal home buyer tax credit program. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a 16 reading. "While many home buyers are still holding off on making a purchase, builders did indicate slightly increased optimism about the future with a two-point gain in the HMI component gauging sales expectations for the next six months," added NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. The HMI is a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor -- which hasn't been the case since April 2006.