• Gain in confidence reflects improving sales, buyer traffic
  • Present-sales index climbs to highest level in a decade

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose in September to the highest level in almost a decade, signaling momentum in residential real estate will support growth in the second half of 2015.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment gauge rose to 62, the highest level since October 2005, from 61 the prior month, figures from the Washington-based group showed Wednesday. Readings greater than 50 mean more respondents report good market conditions.

“Barring any unexpected jolts, we expect housing to keep moving forward at a steady, modest rate through the end of the year,” David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist, said in a statement.

The median in a Bloomberg survey of 45 economists called for the measure to hold at 61. Estimates ranged from 58 to 63.

The group’s gauge of prospective buyer traffic climbed to 47, the best in a year, from 45 the prior month. The index of current single-family home sales increased to 67, the strongest since November 2005, from 66.

The measure of the six-month sales outlook cooled to 68, a four-month low, from 70.

Builder confidence advanced in three of four regions. Sentiment climbed to 66 in the South, the highest since January 2006, from 63. The measure also increased in the Midwest and Northeast, while it was little changed in the West.

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