The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market index fell to 16 from 17, leaving the index in the pessimist range for a full five years.
A reading above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor. The index has not been above 50 since April 2006.
The spring home buying season is getting off to a slow start due to persistent concerns about home values as more foreclosures seem to be hitting the market, increasingly restrictive lending requirements for home buyers and builders, and the slow pace of economic recovery, said David Crowe, the NAHB's chief economist.
(Reporting Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)