The July NAHB home builder sentiment # at 35 was much better than expectations of 30 and up from 29 in June. It’s the best since May ’07, well off its Jan ’09 low of 8 but still 15 pts from the breakeven between expansion and contraction of 50. The Present conditions component rose 6 pts and the Future outlook gained 11 pts. Prospective Buyers Traffic was up by 6 pts and gains were seen in all 4 regions. Bottom line, this figure follows the continued improvement being seen in a variety of housing numbers, albeit off depressed levels. Bernanke in his testimony purposely gave himself a pat on the back when he said “in part because of historically low mortgage rates, both new and existing home sales have been gradually trending upwards since last summer, and some measures of house prices have turned up in recent months.” He followed though with all the known caveats holding back a more pronounced recovery.