This summer, home buyer demand has been high while the supply of homes for sale has remained lower than normal. But, if you’re a builder, those are perfect conditions. After all, when there are more buyers than homes, building more homes is the quickest way to balance the market. Because of that, the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index – which measures builder confidence on a scale where any score above 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor – has seen an uptick in optimism this year. Builders have been generally positive about the new home market and their prospects for the year. In July, for example, the index scored a 68, with components measuring sales conditions and expectations for the next six months in the mid 70s. In other words, builders are feeling good. And that’s encouraging news for prospective home buyers, as more new homes can help alleviate upward pressure on prices. But Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist, says it’s not all good news. “Builders are encouraged by growing housing demand, but they continue to be burdened by rising construction material costs,” Dietz said. “Builders need to manage these cost increases as they strive to provide competitively priced homes, especially as more first-time home buyers enter the housing market.” More here.