Workers install solar panels on a new home at the PulteGroup Inc. Dell Webb development in Manteca, Calif. (David Paul Morris/BLOOMBERG)

Confidence among the nation’s home builders rose for the fifth consecutive month in February, according to an index released Wednesday by the National Association of Home Builders.

The index rose to 29 from 25, marking the first time it has reached that level in more than four years.

Home builders had their worst year on record in 2011 and are hopeful that 2012 is the year the industry will begin to see a turnaround. Although the February index marked an improvement, it’s still well below the level — at 50 — that is considered a healthy market.

“Given the recent improvements in new home starts... this consistency suggests that the housing market is moving toward more sustainable growth,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index measures builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and expectations for the next six months. The survey also asks builders about interest from prospective buyers.