Optimism reaches high for year among U.S. homebuilders

October 24, 2004|By Bloomberg News

An index of U.S. homebuilder optimism rose this month to a high for the year as lower mortgage rates lured buyers and boosted expectations for the market, a private survey found.

The National Association of Home Builders said its measure of builder confidence in demand for single-family houses was 72, up from 67 last month. The reading is the highest since October last year.

The optimism index has averaged 68 this year, up from last year's number.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 5.74 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac, the No. 2 purchaser of home loans.

A gauge of buyer traffic in the National Association of Homebuilders' survey rose to 54 this month from 52 last month. The measure of current sales increased five points to 78, and the index of sales expectations for the next six months jumped to 84 from 75, the association said.

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