For the first time since 2006, a survey of the nation’s homebuilders found them with a positive outlook about the market. It’s not scientific, but it’s still nice to see.

imageThe National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index asks 250-someodd home builders their opinions on sales expectations and buyer traffic. The result indicates, in essence, the percentage that think the market is good. (I.e., anything over 50 means more than half are positive about the market.)

The May reading was 44. The June reading was 52. That’s not only the biggest jump since 2002, it put the index over that magic ’50′ mark for the first time since April 2006.

“Builders are experiencing some relief in the headwinds that are holding back a more robust recovery,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Today’s report is consistent with our forecast for a 29 percent increase in total housing starts this year, which would mark the first time since 2007 that starts have topped the 1 million mark.”