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Home builder sentiment index jumps in May19 May

LOS ANGELES — U.S. home builders are growing more optimistic about their fortunes, with many expecting improved sales and customer traffic in coming months despite the end of home buyer tax incentives.

The National Association of Home Builders said Monday its housing market index, which tracks industry confidence, rose three points this month to 22, the highest reading since August 2007.

Readings below 50 indicate negative sentiment about the market. The last time the index was above 50 was in April 2006.

Builders have seen sales and home orders improve this year thanks to low mortgage rates and two government tax credits $8,000 for new buyers and $6,500 for current owners who who buy and move into another property.

The government incentives helped gin up home sales this spring as many buyers raced to purchase a home in time to qualify before they expired at the end of April.

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