WASHINGTON - Home-builder sentiment rose more than expected in February as low interest rates and a sharper than expected drop in unemployment boosted confidence for the first time since September, the National Association of Home Builders said on Tuesday.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose 2 points to 17 in February, the group said in a statement. January's 15 reading was the lowest since June 2009. Economists polled by Reuters had expected sentiment to rise a point to 16. A reading below 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as poor than good. The index has not been above 50 since April 2006.

(Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Neil Stempleman)