Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes edged marginally higher in February as traffic of prospective buyers through model homes improved considerably, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo housing market index, released yesterday. The HMI rose a single point to 20 this month, still close to its recent historic low reading of 18. The series began in January 1985.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 20 years, the index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as either “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as either “high to very high,” “average,” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

In February, the index gauging current sales conditions for single-family homes rose one point to 20, while the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months declined one point to 27. Meanwhile, the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers rose five points to 19, its highest level since July of 2007.

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