WASHINGTON (AP) - Homebuilders are more pessimistic about the housing market this month, a dismal sign at the start of the spring-buying season.
The National Association of Home Builders says its index of industry sentiment for April fell slightly to 16. It had risen modestly in March, to 17, after four straight months at 16. Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the market. The index hasn't been above that level since April 2006.
Last year was the worst in more than a decade for sales of previously owned homes and the worst for new-home sales in nearly a half-century.
Fewer homes mean fewer jobs. Each new home built creates, on average, the equivalent of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to the builders' trade group.