WASHINGTON — Confidence among US builders ticked up this month to a five-year high, an indication that the housing market is slowly improving.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose in June to 29, the highest reading since May 2007. It increased from a reading of 28 last month, which was revised down one point from its initial figure.
The index, released Monday, has risen in seven of the past nine months, suggesting builders are starting to see the seeds of a recovery taking shape after years of stagnation. Yet, the market has a long way to go. Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. The index has not reached that level since April 2006, the peak of the housing boom.
In June, builders reported seeing the best sales level since April 2007, according to a separate measure in the survey. Their outlook for sales in the next six months, however, has not changed from May.
Cheaper mortgages and lower home prices in many markets have made home buying more attractive. Many economists believe that housing construction could contribute to overall economic growth this year for the first time since 2005.