LESS GLOOMY: Rising interest from potential buyers is leaving U.S. homebuilders less gloomy about the housing market, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index showed Monday. The index rose two points to 21 in December _ the highest level since May 2010.
STILL NEGATIVE: Even though December was just the second time that the index has been at or above 20 in the past two years, any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.
BAD YEAR: Last year, the number of people who bought new homes fell to its lowest level on records going back 50 years. The figure for 2011 will be close to that level.