There are a number of perspectives from which you could view the housing market. That’s why there are surveys gauging the attitudes of buyers and sellers, as well as Realtors, mortgage lenders, and builders. Each has an unique take on the real estate market that is based on their specific role. For example, an agent may have a very different understanding of their local market than the average home buyer, if only because of their experience and expertise. Builders are considered an important measure of the market because they have a ground-level view of how many people are shopping for new homes, the challenges facing builders, and the amount of foot traffic they’re currently seeing. For this reason, the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index surveys builders each month and scores their responses on a scale where any number above 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor. In December, the index hit 70, its highest reading since July 2005. Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist, says this month’s increase may have more to do with the recent election than any fundamental change in conditions. Still, Dietz says the market looks good. “Though this significant increase in builder confidence could be considered an outlier, the fact remains that the economic fundamentals continue to look good for housing,” Dietz said. “The rise in the HMI is consistent with recent gains for the stock market and consumer confidence. At the same time, builders remain sensitive to rising mortgage rates and continue to deal with shortages of lots and labor.” More here.