And another index drops to levels last seen just as QE2 was unwinding. Per the NAHB: "After holding at a low but steady level for the past six months, builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes declined three points in June to a reading of 13 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. The last time the index was this low was in September of 2010. "Builders are being squeezed by the continuing weakness in existing-home prices – against which they must compete -- as well as rising material costs," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev. "In addition to the ongoing impacts of distressed property sales on home prices, appraisal values and consumer confidence, rising costs for materials such as roofing, copper, wallboard, vinyl siding and other components have made it extremely difficult to construct a new home and sell it at a price that covers the costs....Builder confidence has waned even further as economic growth has stalled, foreclosures have continued to hit the market and the cost of building a home has risen," agreed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Meanwhile, potential new-home buyers are being constrained by difficulty selling their existing homes, stringent lending requirements, and general uncertainty about the economy. Economic growth must pick up in order for housing to gain the momentum it needs to get back on track." Yet fear not: Wall Street's econometric lemmings say the economy will surge in the second half on more hope and change. It is unclear what besides hope and change will cause this miraculous surge, although Operation Twist 2, which now seems guaranteed, appears to be the best guess.