The index reading of 16 was the first improvement in five months. The HMI hit a high of 72 in August 1998. Itís lowest reading of 8 occurred in January 2009.
"The new-homes market is finally moving past the lull that occurred when the home buyer tax credits expired and economic growth stalled this summer," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
However, the market continues to face numerous challenges, he added, among them competition from foreclosures, inaccurate appraisal values, general consumer uncertainty about the economy and jobs, and scarce construction credit for builders.
All three components of the HMI improved in the current reportcurrent sales conditions, buyer traffic and sales expectations for the next six months.