OPTIMISTIC BUILDERS: A survey of 441 U.S. homebuilders shows they are feeling more confident in their prospects for sales than they have in more than six and a half years.
THE NUMBERS: The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index increased to 47 this month, up from a revised 45 in November. That's the highest reading since April 2006, just before the housing bubble burst.
THE SCALE: Readings below 50 suggest negative sentiment about the housing market. The last time the index was at or above that level was in April 2006, with a reading of 51.