Because of their unique perspective on the market for newly built homes, builders are a good gauge of the strength or weakness of the housing market. That’s why, for the past 30 years, the National Association of Home Builders has been conducting a monthly survey asking builders for their opinion on current home buyer traffic, sales conditions, and the outlook for the next six months. The survey is scored on a scale where any number above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. In July, the NAHB’s Housing Market Index hit its highest level since November 2005, reaching 60 for the first time in nearly 10 years. “The fact that builder confidence has returned to levels not seen since 2005 shows that housing continues to improve at a steady pace,” said NAHB chairman, Tom Woods. “As we head into the second half of 2015, we should expect a continued recovery of the housing market.” Regionally, three-month moving averages show the West and Northeast up three points each, while the South and Midwest both posted a one point gain. Builder confidence in the South leads all other regions, coming in at 61, according to the most recent results. More here.