An index that gauges home builders' confidence fell seven points in August to its lowest level since February 1991. The Wells Fargo/National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, which is derived from a monthly survey by the home builders' trade group, is based on builder ratings of current and expected single-family home sales as "good," "fair," or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate the traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores for each component are used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor. The HMI reached 32 in August, marking the seventh consecutive monthly drop for the index. "Two big factors are coloring builders' perceptions of the market right now -- rising sales cancellations and substantial growth in inventories of both new and existing homes," said David Seiders, chief economist for the builders' group...
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