The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index measures builders’ perceptions of the market for newly built single-family homes on a scale where any number above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. In July, the index increased four points to a reading of 53. It was the first time since January confidence has been above 50. David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist, said an improving job market goes hand-in-hand with a rise in builder confidence. According to Crowe, as employment increases and those with jobs feel more secure about their economic situation, they are more likely to feel comfortable buying a home. July’s results also show increases to all three of the index’s individual components, including a six-point spike in expectations for future sales. Regionally, the West increased five points and the South was up two points from the month before. The Midwest rose a point to 35 and the Northeast climbed two points to 48.