Every month, the National Association of Realtors measures home buyer interest by tracking the number of times lock boxes are opened at for-sale properties. Known as foot traffic, the number of interested buyers looking at homes for sale is a good indicator of future home sales and overall demand for real estate. In May, foot traffic rose for the sixth consecutive month and improved year-over-year in all but four of the included metro areas. The index – which scores results on a scale where any number above 50 means more than half of the included markets had stronger foot traffic than the month before – registered a 59 in May, 13.8 points higher than one year earlier. The consistent gains indicate that, despite higher home prices and rising mortgage rates, Americans’ interest in buying homes has not suffered. In fact, even in markets where foot traffic was slower than last year, all but one showed an improvement from last month’s year-over-year measure. Overall, it is an indication that the spring selling season has been stronger than last year’s and the trend should continue through the summer. It’s also a positive sign that better economic conditions and an improved labor market will likely balance out the effects of possible mortgage rate increases over the coming months. More here.