The National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index is a monthly measure of interest in the new home market. The survey asks builders for their view of current conditions and is considered an important indicator, since home builders have an unique perspective on things like buyer demand and foot traffic. According to the most recent survey, home builders remain solidly optimistic about demand for new single-family homes, though there are a number of lingering concerns. Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist, says the market’s current challenges are particularly daunting for first-time and entry-level buyers. “Despite lower mortgage rates, home prices remain somewhat high relative to incomes, which is particularly challenging for entry-level buyers” Dietz said. “And while new home sales picked up in March and April, builders continue to grapple with excessive regulations, a shortage of lots and lack of skilled labor that are hurting affordability and depressing supply.” Still, despite these challenges, regional results show, over the past three months, only the South has seen a drop in confidence, while the Northeast, Midwest, and West have all made gains or remained steady. More here.