Optimism among U.S. homebuilders weakens

Contractors work during the construction of residential housing in the Norton Commons subdivision in Louisville, Kentucky, on Nov. 16.  Bloomberg photo by Luke Sharrett.

U.S. homebuilders are feeling a bit less confident this month, reflecting a dimmer outlook on sales in the months ahead and fewer would-be buyers dropping by builders’ sales offices.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Wednesday fell to 65 this month. That’s down two points from a revised reading of 67 in January.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The index has been above 60 since September and reached the highest level in 11 years in December.

The February number falls shy of analyst predictions. They expected the index to hit 68, according to FactSet.

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Builders’ view of sales now and over the next six months also fell, as did a gauge of traffic by prospective buyers.