Confidence among U.S. home builders rose in October to the highest level in four months, a sign that residential construction is stabilizing at depressed levels.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo confidence index was 16, up from 13 the prior month, according to data the Washington-based group released Monday. The gauge was projected to rise to 14, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Housing construction will be slow to recover after the end of a homebuyers' tax credit and as foreclosures flood the market with cheaper homes. Unemployment near a 26-year high of 10.1% is making it difficult for Americans to take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates on record.

Index readings lower than 50 mean more respondents said conditions were poor. The measure reached a record low of 8 in January of last year and averaged 54 in the five years before the recession began in December 2007.

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