Builders have to be able to read the market in order to be successful. So it’s no surprise their perspective is closely followed. One measure of how home builders are feeling about the housing market is the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index. It surveys builders and scores their responses on a scale where any number above 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor. In September, the index moved up one point to 76, ending three months of consecutive declines. Chuck Fowke, NAHB’s chairman, says the improvement is evidence of stability in the market. “The September data show stability as some building material cost challenges ease, particularly for softwood lumber,” Fowke said. “However, delivery times remain extended and the chronic construction labor shortage is expected to persist as the overall labor market recovers.” Despite those challenges, builders remain optimistic about the market. In fact, the index component measuring expectations for the next six months held steady at 81 and the gauge of current sales conditions rose to 82.