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Builder confidence still sagging

Real estate brief

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Homebuilder sentiment rose slightly in February above a record low reported in January, according to a National Association of Home Builders-Wells Fargo Housing Market Index report released Tuesday. The index, which is based on builders' response to a set of survey questions and is more than 20 years old, remained in single digits for the fourth straight month in February, rising to nine -- an index score below 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good. A component of the index that gauges builder sentiment of current sales conditions rose from six in January to seven in February, while another index component gauging the volume of traffic by prospective homebuyers rose three points to 11 and a final index component gauging sales expectations in the next six months dropped two points to a record-low 15, the builders' trade group reported. Also today, the California Building Industry Association reported that new-home sales in that state slid 58...