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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, October 18, 2002

Home-builder index slips to 62 from 63 this month

By Siobhan Hughes
Bloomberg News Service

WASHINGTON — U.S. homebuilder optimism in October held close to the highest level in almost two years as home sales increased, an industry survey showed. The outlook for the next six months fell.

The National Association of Home Builders' housing market index fell to 62 this month. In September, the index rose to 63, the highest since November 2000.

An index of current home sales rose to 68, the highest level of the year, from 67 in September. A separate index measuring builders' expectations for the next six months fell to 67. That was down from 72 in September, when the outlook surged to the highest since November 2000.

"Buyer demand remains strong at the present time, though builders are moderating their expectations for future sales and nothing slower traffic of prospective buyers," said Gary Garczynski, president of the NAHB and a home builder from Woodbridge, Va.

A gauge of traffic of prospective buyers fell to 46 in October from 50 in September. The builders group predicts that sales of new, single-family homes will reach a record 945,000 this year, up from 908,000 in 2001.