Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes lifted slightly in November as the National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index inched up to 16 from 15.

Economists had predicted a level of 17 for the monthly gauge of builder sentiment. The October index was revised down to 15 after originally being reported at a level of 16. Homebuilder confidence has averaged 44 the past 10 years.

“Though the gains have been incremental, the fact that builder confidence has improved over the past two months is encouraging,” NAHB chairman Bob Jones said. “Many builders are reporting that while the quantity of buyer traffic through their model homes has not improved dramatically, the quality of that traffic seems to be getting better — meaning that more people appear to be serious.”

The future expectations component of the index rose to 25 in November from 23 in October.

“This is the highest that component of the HMI has been since the homebuyer tax-credit program spurred sales activity this spring,” NAHB chief economist David Crowe said of future expectations.

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