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Confidence among U.S. homebuilders jumped in December to the highest level since July 1999, exceeding all analyst estimates, as a growing economy boosts housing demand, according to data Monday from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo.

Highlights of Homebuilder Sentiment (December)

Housing market  index rose to 74 from a downwardly revised 69 in Nov.; median est. was 70, with forecasts ranging from 68 to 72 Current sales  gauge increased to 81, highest since 1999, from 77; future sales index rose to 79, highest since 2005, from 76 Regional index for the Midwest surged 11 points to 76, highest in data back to 2004

Key Takeaways

The surprisingly strong reading shows developers expect demand to advance amid steady economic growth and a tightening job market. Mortgage rates remain close to record lows, making borrowing attractive for prospective buyers, while the homebuilders also cited easier regulation under President Donald Trump as helping the housing market.

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