U.S. homebuilder confidence hits highest level since 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. homebuilders' confidence soared this month to the highest level in 11 years, reflecting heightened expectations of better sales now and well into 2017.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Thursday jumped seven points to 70. The last time the reading was at this level was July 2005, during the high-flying days of the last U.S. housing boom.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The index has been above 60 the past four months after hovering in the high 50s much of this year.

Builders' view of sales now and over the next six months rose sharply, as did a gauge of traffic by prospective buyers.