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The nation's home builders expect the housing market to remain strong in 2005, as a growing economy helps offset the impact of slowly rising mortgage interest rates, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released today. The January HMI was 70, down one point from December but the same as the average monthly level for the final quarter of 2004, which was the strongest period for the index last year. January's index is based on responses from builders who were surveyed during the past two weeks. "Builders are geared up for another solid year and expect the demand from home buyers to remain resilient," said newly elected 2005 NAHB President David Wilson, a custom home builder from Ketchum, Idaho. "We expect somewhat higher mortgage rates, but they will still be at reasonably affordable levels to accommodate families who are shopping for a new home." The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is derived from a monthly survey of builders...