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Home builder sentiment rises in August: NAHB

A worker walks on the roof of a new home under construction in Carlsbad, California in this September 22, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Blake

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. homebuilder sentiment rose in August to its highest level since a matching reading almost a decade ago, the National Association of Home Builders said on Monday.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose to 61 from 60 in July, the group said in a statement. The latest level was the highest since a matching reading in November 2005. It was in line with economists' expectations, according to a Reuters poll.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view market conditions as favorable than poor. The index has not been below 50 since June 2014.(For graphic of U.S. homebuilder sentiment (NAHB) - http://link.reuters.com/sys62w)

"Today's report is consistent with our forecast for a gradual strengthening of the single-family housing sector in 2015," NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in a statement.

"Job and economic gains should keep the market moving forward at a modest pace throughout the rest of the year."

The single-family home sales component rose to 66 from 65 to mark its highest level since November 2005. The gauge of single-family sales expectations for the next six months was steady at 70, while prospective buyer traffic rose to 45 from 43 to mark the highest reading since December.

(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)