The housing market may already have hit bottom, but homebuilders are likely facing a slow recovery, according to Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.S&P said the reasons for this expectation are affordability problems in key coastal markets, a glut of unsold homes that could worsen, and a reluctant consumer that is still waiting for the market to hit bottom despite builders' price concessions. "Our bet is on a slower recovery with plenty of mixed signals and false starts along the way as undercapitalized homebuilders falter and consumers maintain their pricing power," said S&P credit analyst James Fielding. "The picture is likely to become clearer after the first half of 2007, when homebuilders report results from the important spring selling season." The S&P report is titled "Industry Report Card: Mixed Signals and False Starts Ahead in the U.S. Homebuilding Sector." The rating agency can be found online at http://www.standardandpoors.com.

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