Builders’ confidence in the market for new single-family homes was flat in March, as the National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index — a monthly gauge of builder sentiment — remained at 9, the group announced yesterday.

Thomson Reuters’ poll of economists predicted a level of 9.

“The economy continues to be the main drag on home sales activity right now, in terms of consumer confidence across most of the country,” noted NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “What’s more, home builders report that tight credit conditions are posing a further hurdle, especially for potential first-time buyers, while potential trade-up buyers are finding it very tough to sell their existing homes so they can make a move.”

One of the three component indexes decreased in March, while the other two were flat. The current single-family home sales index held at 7, the sales expectations index for the next six months remained at a record low 15, and the traffic of prospective buyers index fell to 9 from 11.

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