The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, or HMI, a monthly gauge of homebuilder sentiment, was released today. The index has been around for 25 years, and February's reading of 46, though a point lower than it was in January, is not far from its highest level since May 2006.

The measurement is derived from surveys given to homebuilders on a monthly basis. They are asked to rate three things: current sales conditions, sales expectations in the next six months, and the traffic of prospective buyers. A final HMI reading above 50 represents that "more builders view conditions as good than poor," according to today's press release.

Despite the one-point fall for February, the index has made great strides since the depths of the financial crisis, and has even rallied significantly in the last year. Showing a resurgence in the health of the real estate market, HMI has come back from a low of just 8 points in January 2009, and this month's reading of 46 is much improved from the 28 points that the HMI registered in February 2012.