The most recent National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index shows builder confidence in the new-home market slipped in February. The index asks home builders for their perception of the current and upcoming market for new homes. Their answers are then scored on a scale where any number above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. In February, the Index fell three points to 58. David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist, said the dip in confidence is reflective of the current economic mood in the country but that the fundamentals are still strong. “Builders are reflecting consumers’ concerns about recent negative economic trends,” Crowe said. “However, the fundamentals are in place for continued growth of the housing market. Historically low mortgage rates, steady job gains, improved household formations, and significant pent up demand all point to a gradual upward trend for housing in the year ahead.” A closer look at the survey’s individual components supports Crowe’s optimism. For example, while the components gauging current sales conditions and buyer traffic declined, the measure of sales expectations for the next six months rose one point to 65. More here.