U.S. builder confidence rose in the new single-family home market as in July by the greatest level in nearly a decade, led by improving market conditions and buyer traffic, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, released Tuesday.

The index was up six points to 35, exceeding the highest forecasts by economists polled by Bloomberg News. The index reached the highest level since March 2007, but still below the 50 point threshold that indicates a majority of builders see the market positively. The index's components measuring sales conditions and buyer traffic both rose by six points, while the component engaging sales expectations in the next six months rose 11 points.

The recent monthly increases are a sign of hope for the housing market,” said Mitchell Hochberg, principal of New York-based developer Madden Real Estate Ventures. “Foreclosed homes overhang and unemployment are still challenges, but there’s now further indications that the housing industry may be slowly emerging from a bottom.