Friday, January 20, 2012


U.S. homebuilder sentiment unexpectedly jumped in January to its highest level in four and a half years, suggesting the housing market is starting to heal, the National Association of Home Builders said on Wednesday. 

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose to 25 from 21 the month before, the group said in a statement. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted the index would hold steady at 21.

It was the highest level since June 2007 when the housing market was crumbling. After stagnating in a tight range for about a year, the index has been improving since October 2011, reinforcing optimism the housing market is finding a bottom.

Still, the index is a long way from the 50 mark, indicating more builders view market conditions as poor than favorable. It has not been above 50 since April 2006.

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