Buyer demand for new homes remains strong, according to the most recent Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders. The Index – which measures builders’ confidence in the new home market on a scale where any number above 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor – was at 64 in July. Additionally, individual components measuring current sales conditions and expectations over the next six months both scored 70 or above. Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist, says buyer demand is strong but there are other factors slowing the rate of new home construction. “The HMI measures of currents sales conditions has been at 70 or higher for eight straight months, indicating strong demand for new homes,” Dietz said. “However, builders will need to manage some increasing supply-side costs to keep home prices competitive.” Specifically, builders have expressed concern over the cost of lumber. Naturally, higher lumber prices effect the overall cost of new homes and the number of buyers that can afford them. In other words, the reason more new homes aren’t being built isn’t because of a lack of demand and, in many cases, has more to do with higher material prices and a fewer available lots to build on. More here.