For the fifth consecutive month, the National Association of Realtors’ Confidence Index found more real estate professionals feel the housing market’s six-month outlook is strong than those that feel it’s weak. The fact that a majority of Realtors continue to feel optimistic that the housing market will remain strong over the next several months is a good sign for both home buyers and sellers. That’s because Realtors have an insiders’ perspective on whether or not homes are selling, buyers are interested, and markets are improving. And, though there are still concerns about low inventory and rising mortgage rates, their general view is that conditions have improved significantly from last year and will continue to make gains. Some of the numbers behind their optimistic view include the fact that a larger number of first-time buyers are active in the market. In fact, first timers accounted for 32 percent of home sales in May, compared to 27 percent one year earlier. And, though first-time home buyers typically account for somewhere closer to 40 percent of home sales, the improvement is an indication that pent-up demand is finally being released due to better economic conditions and an improved labor market. Also in the report, the typical home sold within 40 days of being put on the market. More here.