Homebuilder confidence hits 10-year high

Homebuilder confidence hit a 10-year high in July as the housing market makes gradual strides amid stronger jobs growth. 

Confidence hit 60 this month, the highest level since November 2005, which was before the housing market crash, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index showed on Thursday. 

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June also reached 60 after being revised up a point. 

Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good rather than poor.

“The fact that builder confidence has returned to levels not seen since 2005 shows that housing continues to improve at a steady pace,” said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Tom Woods, a homebuilder from Blue Springs, Mo. 

“As we head into the second half of 2015, we should expect a continued recovery of the housing market,” Woods said.

Despite the improvement, builders are still facing shortages of labor and places to build. 

“This month's reading is in line with recent data showing stronger sales in both the new and existing home markets as well as continued job growth,” said David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist. 

A separate report on Thursday showed that mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 1 percent in June, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The group estimates that new home sales increased 8 percent from May on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.

The NAHB’s gauge showed that two of three components posted gains in July.

Current sales conditions rose 1 point, to 66, and the index for sales expectations in the next six months increased 2 points, to 71. 

Meanwhile, the gauge measuring buyer traffic dropped a single point, to 43.

Regionally, the West and Northeast each rose 3 points, to 60 and 47, respectively, in a three-month average.  

The South and Midwest each posted 1-point gains, to 61 and 55, respectively.