Home Builders to Feds: Prop Up the Housing Market

Builder confidence reached record lows in November.

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Amid rising unemployment and continued turmoil in the financial markets, builder confidence in November dropped to record lows, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

With the index now at its lowest point since its 1985 inception, home builders are asking—you guessed it!—Uncle Sam for help:

"The housing downturn has already cost America 3 million jobs in construction and related industries, and this downward momentum cannot be stemmed without substantive government intervention," David Crowe, the chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement accompanying the release. "Congress should consider significant consumer incentives such as expanding the first-time home-buyer tax credit and providing a government buy-down of mortgage interest rates for home purchasers. Both policies were successfully combined in the '70s to stimulate home buyer demand, and could get housing and the national economy moving again."

Here's a look at the index over the years: