Home builders show highest confidence level since June, 2006


LOS ANGELES — Confidence among U.S. home builders rose this month to its highest level in six years.

Many of them expect the housing recovery to strengthen over the next six months.

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

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. The survey was based on responses from 445 builders.

A measure of builders’ outlook for sales in the next six months rose to 51 from 43 in August. That reading also is the highest 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.