September 19, 2012 in Business

Homebuilders gain confidence

Alex Veiga Associated Press
 

LOS ANGELES – Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose this month to its highest level in six years, and many expect the housing recovery will strengthen in the next six months.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday increased to 40 in September. That’s up from 37 in August and the highest reading since June 2006, just before the housing bubble burst.

Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.

Still, a measure of builders’ outlook for sales in the next six months rose to 51. That’s up from 43 in August and also the highest level since June 2006.

Builders also reported seeing the best sales level since July 2006. And turnout by prospective buyers returned to levels not seen since May 2006.

The positive trends have helped bolster optimism that the U.S. housing recovery will endure.

“We think things have turned around and this recovery is sustainable,” said Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight. The rise in builder confidence means that new-home construction is likely to increase over the next six months, Newport said.

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