For the first time since June, home builders say they see the market for new homes getting better.

In a monthly survey of builders, the National Association of Home Builders found that builders are selling more homes than in November. Also, builders are now expecting more buyers over the next six months than in November.

The seasonally adjusted housing market index climbed two points to 53 in December. It has fallen steadily since May, when it was 63 points.

In a press release, Randy Smith, president of the trade group, attributed the uptick to lower mortgage rates.

"With mortgage interest rates down to about 7.5%, builders are experiencing somewhat increased sales activity and are hopeful that it will continue in the future," Mr. Smith said.

Not all indicators in the survey improved.

While builders in the Midwest and the South reported more buyer traffic, those in the Northeast and the West said traffic declined.

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