Keith Srakocic, Associated Press
In this Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, photo, real estate signs mark the lots near one of the new homes for sale in a development for new homes in Cranberry Township, Butler County, Pa. On Wednesday, March 15, 2017, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo releases its March index of builder sentiment.

U.S. homebuilders are feeling more optimistic about their sales prospects than they have been since the high-flying days of the housing boom.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Wednesday jumped to 71 this month. That's up six points from 65 in February and the highest reading since June 2005.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The index has been above 60 since September.

The March number exceeded analyst predictions. They expected the index to hold steady at 65, according to FactSet.

Builders' view of sales now and over the next six months also surged, as did a gauge of traffic by prospective buyers.

The increased confidence reflects heightened expectations as the spring home-selling season gets underway.