By Kate Davidson


WASHINGTON--A gauge of U.S. home-builder confidence climbed in October, continuing a steady rebound in the housing sector that began in the spring.


--The National Association of Homebuilders said Wednesday its housing market index rose three points, to 71 from a revised level of 68 in September. That was the index's highest level since February 2018. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected the reading to remained unchanged.


--The gradual uptick in builder sentiment in recent months mirrors the steady gains in single-family construction during the second half of 2019, NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz said. "However, builders continue to remain cautious due to ongoing supply side constraints and concerns about a slowing economy," he said.


--The index had held relatively steady in a range between 64 and 66 through the summer and began edging up last month amid a continued decline in mortgage rates. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage hit 3.57% for the week ended Oct. 10, down from 3.73% in mid-September, according to Freddie Mac.


--Overall, the housing market has been showing signs of life following a slump last year. Home building in the U.S. increased in August to the highest level since June 2000. August was also the strongest month for sales of previously owned homes in nearly a year and a half. The Commerce Department will release new data Thursday on housing construction in September.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 16, 2019 10:14 ET (14:14 GMT)

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