RISING INTEREST FROM HOMEBUYERS
MAKE U.S. HOMEBUILDERS MORE
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT HOUSING MARKET

Although tighter lending standards are still keeping
potential buyers from purchasing new homes.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells
Fargo builder sentiment index rose two points to
21 in December, the highest level since May 2010.

Any reading below 50 signals negative sentiment
about the housing market. The index hasn't reached
50 since April 2006 at the peak of the housing boom.

Last year, the number of people who bought new
homes fell to its lowest level in half a century. The
figure for 2011 will be close to that level.

Builders are struggling to compete with foreclosures
which have forced down prices of previously
occupied homes.

Also, many buyers are finding it harder to qualify
for loans or meet higher required down payments,
even though interest rates are the lowest in history.