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In April, sales of both previously occupied homes and new homes rose near two-year highs. Builders are gaining more confidence in the market as traffic from potential buyers rises, according to an industry survey.

Building permits have risen in recent months, though they fell in April from nearly a two-year high, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

Long-term mortgage rates have never been lower. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.78 percent last week, the lowest since long-term rates began in the 1950s.

Still, the pace of home sales remains well below healthy levels. Economists say it could be years before the market is fully healed.

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