WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- A U.S. builders' confidence index gained four points to 58 in December, a welcome improvement, the National Association of Home Builders said Tuesday.
"This is definitely an encouraging sign as we move into 2014," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson in a statement.
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which focuses on builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes, is up 11 points from December 2012 and has held above 50 for seven months, Judson said.
The market, from a builder's perspective, has survived two jolts lately, including rising interest rates, said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
"Following a two-month pause in the index, this uptick is due in part to release of the pent-up demand caused by the uncertainty of the October government shutdown," he said, referring to the second potential disruption to builder confidence that the market appears to have survived.
The trade association said that confidence is broad-based. All three components of the index -- current sales conditions, sales expectations and traffic of prospective buyers -- rose in December, the trade group said.