State and Nation Business

U.S. homebuilder confidence soars to 7-year high

For the first time in seven years, most U.S. homebuilders are optimistic about home sales, a sign that construction could help drive stronger economic growth in coming months.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index leaped to 52 this month from 44 in May.

A reading above 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index hasn't been that high since April 2006, just before the housing market collapsed.

Measures of customer traffic, current sales conditions and builders' outlook for single-family home sales over the next six months also soared to their highest levels in seven years.

Steady job growth, low mortgage rates, rising home prices and tight supplies of homes for sale have supported a recovery in housing this year.

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