Confidence among U.S. home builders took a leap in December, as pent-up demand from the government shutdown drove more potential buyers to new model homes. A monthly sentiment index from the National Association of Home Builders (HMI) rose 4 points to the highest level since August.
"This is definitely an encouraging sign as we move into 2014," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "This indicates that an increasing number of builders have a positive view on where the industry is going."
The sentiment index has now been in the positive for seven-straight months. It had been falling since August, amid higher mortgage rates and concern over the government shutdown and the budget impasse. That may have caused potential buyers to pause and return to the market now. Some, however, say there is a bigger change afoot.