Home-builder confidence rises to six-year high as sales slump

, Daily Business Review

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Confidence among U.S. home-builders unexpectedly climbed in November to a six-year high, propelled by the biggest jump in sales in a decade, adding to signs the real estate market is improving.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence increased to 46, the highest level since May 2006, from 41 in October, the builders group said Monday.

Builders are benefiting as more affordable properties and record-low mortgage rates bring buyers into the market.

"Builders are reporting increasing demand for new homes as inventories of foreclosed and distressed properties begin to shrink in markets across the country," Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a builder from Gainesville, said in a statement. "In view of the tightening supply and other improving conditions, many potential buyers who were on the fence are now motivated to move forward with a purchase in order to take advantage of today's favorable prices and interest rates."

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