Belief in the market for single-family homes among those who build them hit a record low this month, the National Association of Home Builders reported.

A bad job market, still-rising foreclosures and overall negative economic indicators made the Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index stay at  November's all-time low of 9. Two out of the three indexes used to make up the overall number dropped lower.

"The crisis continues," said NAHB Chairwoman Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, W. Va. "While builders are doing everything we can in the way of price and non-price incentives to move new homes off the books, buyers are afraid to move forward, and in any case there is almost no way to compete with the cut-rate product that is continually flooding the market from mounting foreclosures. Congress and the administration must step in with substantial incentives to bring qualified buyers back to the table as well as effective foreclosure relief programs if we are to end this negative spiral that is weighing so heavily on our national economy."

And things are not expected to improve anytime soon, said NAHB chief economist David Crowe.

"We have seen no improvement over the past month in terms of sales conditions for new homes," Crowe said. "In fact, certain factors have gotten progressively worse, not the least of which is the job market, where massive layoffs are having a devastating effect on consumer confidence. At this point it will take definitive government action to stop the slide in home values and turn the tide of consumer sentiment. Expanding the first-time buyer tax credit and providing government action to reduce mortgage rates would go a long way toward arresting this downward spiral, just as a combination of similar moves worked in the 1970s to boost the housing market and economy."

The full report is available at www.nahb.org/hmi.