Home builders lose confidence

LOS ANGELES — The National Association of Home Builders says its housing market index slipped in March, as harsh winter weather and competition from foreclosed properties hurt builders’ sales prospects.

The Washington-based trade association said Monday its index slipped two points to 15, back to its January level.

Readings below 50 indicate negative sentiment about the market. The last time the index was above 50 was in April 2006. The report reflects a survey of 477 residential developers nationwide.

The reading for current sales conditions also slipped two points to 15. The index measuring foot traffic from prospective buyers fell two points to 10, while the index for sales expectations over the next six months fell three points to 24.

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