WASHINGTON - The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index rose 3%, to 65, in November, the highest level since February.

This "shows continued strength in the housing market and reflects a positive interest rate climate," said Robert Mitchell, president of the builders association. "Mortgage interest rates peaked in May and are now holding steady below 8%. Reflecting this trend, as well as stable, healthy conditions throughout the economy, the HMI has been increasing since June."

The index for current sales of single-family homes rose 3 points, to 72, in November, while the index for expected single-family sales remained unchanged at 72 for the third straight month.

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