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Wed Feb 15, 2012, 12:10 PM


U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Increased to Highest Since ’07 [View all]

By Shobhana Chandra - Feb 15, 2012 10:00 AM ET

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders climbed more than anticipated in February to the highest level since May 2007, pointing to an improving outlook for construction.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence rose for a fifth straight month, to 29 in February from 25 in January, figures from the Washington-based group showed today. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a rise to 26. Readings below 50 mean more respondents said conditions were poor.

D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI) is among builders reporting a pickup in demand as borrowing costs hover near a record low and hiring accelerates. Efforts by the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve to shore up the real estate market and help distressed homeowners may limit the supply of foreclosed houses, lifting prospects for the industry.

“The housing market is moving toward more sustainable growth,” Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a builder from Gainesville, Florida, said in a statement. At the same time, the housing sector remains fragile, he said.



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