A gauge of U.S. home-builder confidence rose in May, another signal of a strengthening housing market.
The National Association of Home Builders said Monday that its housing-market index rose by two points to a seasonally adjusted 70 in May, the second-highest reading since the downturn. It was 68 in April, a decline from the previous month's reading of 71.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected this month's index to match April's reading of 68.
The index measures builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes. Figures over 50 mean more builders see conditions as good rather than bad.
It is one of several gauges of U.S. business and consumer sentiment that jumped following November's presidential election, though measures of actual economic activity were subdued in the first quarter. More broadly, the U.S. housing market gained strength in recent years, but the NAHB index climbed much faster than actual home construction.
The trade group's chief economist, Robert Dietz, said "Especially as existing home inventory remains tight, we can expect increased demand for new construction moving forward."
By Sarah Chaney