US homebuilders' confidence is the highest since late 2005

IndustriesAssociated Press

U.S. homebuilders grew slightly more optimistic about the housing market in August, putting their confidence at levels last seen a decade ago during the debt-fueled housing boom.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday rose this month to 61, the highest level since November 2005. The reading was 60 in both June and July. But unlike a decade ago, sentiment has improved without dramatic increases in mortgage debt.

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Any reading above 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.

Builders' view of current sales conditions and buyer traffic improved in August, while sales prospects over the next six months were stable.

Through the first half of 2015, the government reports that new-home purchases shot up 21.2 percent to 274,000.