In a sign that the red-hot housing market may cool down significantly this year, the National Association of Home Builders' housing market index declined Tuesday for the third month in a row.

The index, based on a survey of 400 home builders, settled back to 69 in March on a scale of zero to 100, from 73 in February and 76 in January. The survey accounts for home sales, projected sales for the next six months, and traffic of prospective customers.

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