By Vicki Needham - 11/18/13 11:36 AM EST
Home builder confidence held steady in November as the housing market recovery chugs along.
Confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes was unchanged in November from October's 54, which was revised down, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released on Monday.
"Given the current interest rate and pricing environment, consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes, but are holding back because Congress keeps pushing critical decisions on budget, tax and government spending issues down the road," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson.
"Meanwhile, builders continue to face challenges related to rising construction costs and low appraisals."
Any reading above 50 reflects greater confidence in the market.
Builders along with many other business groups have been complaining about the inability of Washington's policymakers to move forward on weighty issues that they argue would provide an immediate boost to the economy.
Those include immigration, tax reform as well as short- and long-term plans to deal with budget and debt-ceiling matters.
"Policy and economic uncertainty is undermining consumer confidence," said David Crowe, NAHB's chief economist.
"The fact that builder confidence remains above 50 is an encouraging sign, considering the unresolved debt and federal budget issues cause builders and consumers to remain on the sideline."
Other parts of the index either held steady or fell slightly.
The index gauging current sales conditions in November held steady at 58.
The component measuring expectations for future sales fell 1 point to 60 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers dropped 1 point to 42.
The index's three-month moving average was mixed across the nation's four regions.
There were no changes in the South or West, which held at 56 and 60, respectively. The Northeast recorded a 1-point gain to 39 and the Midwest fell 3 points to 60.