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Builder confidence at 7-year high

For the first time in seven years, most US home builders are optimistic about home sales, a sign that construction could help drive stronger economic growth ahead.

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

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It was the largest monthly increase since 2002.

A reading above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index has not been that high since April 2006.

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.

The housing recovery is looking more sustainable and should continue to boost economic growth this year, offsetting some of the drag from higher taxes and federal spending cuts.

Steady hiring and low mortgage rates have encouraged more people to buy homes.

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