Our theme of Housing Stocks, which includes the stocks of home builders, building products companies, and home improvement players, is up 26% thus far in 2021, significantly outperforming the S&P 500 which is up by about 10% over the same period. The U.S. housing market is booming, driven by low mortgage rates and strong demand as more people have the flexibility to work and learn from home following Covid-19. Per data from the Commerce Department, sales of new homes in the U.S. surged by 20.7% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.02 million units, reversing a drop of about 18% in February when severe winter storms impacted sales in many parts of the country. Moreover, prices for existing homes surged 17% in March from a year ago. Within our theme, the strongest performing stock this year has been KB Home (KBH) – a Los Angeles-based home builder that focuses on homes for first-time home buyers. The stock is up by roughly 46% year-to-date. On the other side, Floor & Decor Holdings (FND), a specialty retailer of hard surface floorings, has been the weakest performer, with its stock up by about 7% year-to-date.
So could this be a sign of a bubble in the housing market? Probably not. The current surge in pricing and activity appears to be driven by a mismatch between housing supply and demand, rather than speculation as was the case during the 2008 housing bubble. That said, there are risks, and home builders face supply-side issues including rising prices for building materials, labor, and land. Moreover, with inflation trending higher, the Federal Reserve could potentially rethink its expansionary monetary policy.
[4/6/2021] Stocks To Play The Booming Housing Market
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Our theme of Housing Stocks which includes the stocks of home builders, building products companies, and home improvement players is up 24% so far in 2021, significantly outperforming the S&P 500 which is up by about 7% over the same period. Housing prices have soared with the median home price in the U.S. standing at about $313,000 in February, up by 15.8% year-over-year. There are a couple of factors driving the surge, including higher demand for larger homes and homes in the suburbs as more people have the flexibility to work and learn from home following Covid-19. Mortgage rates also remain very low compared to historical levels (30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at about 3.2%) although they have increased a bit over the last few weeks, in tandem with higher treasury yields. Housing inventory has also been limited, driven by Covid-19 related slowdown in housing starts, extremely cold weather in the parts of the U.S., and a reluctance by existing homeowners to put homes on sale. Within our theme, the strongest performer this year has been KB Home (KBH) – a Los Angeles-based home builder that focuses on homes for first-time homebuyers. The stock is up by roughly 43% year-to-date. On the other side, Floor & Decor Holdings (FND), a specialty retailer of hard surface floorings, has been the weakest performer with its stock up by just about 6% year-to-date.
[11/16/2020] Housing Stocks
Our indicative theme of Housing Stocks is up a solid 25% year-to-date, versus 11% for the S&P 500, as the housing market continues to boom, despite surging coronavirus cases. As of Q3, the median price of a single-family home in the U.S. is up 12% from a year ago to $313,500, according to the National Association of Realtors. There are multiple trends driving prices. Firstly, people are spending more time at home, as they work and learn remotely and this is causing an increase in demand for larger homes and homes in the suburbs. Secondly, the supply of new homes available to buy is also low, likely as the pandemic slowed down construction. More importantly, mortgage rates also remain at around their 50-year lows, with 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates currently at levels of around 2.8%.  The strong housing market should bode well for home builders as well as other companies that have direct exposure to the housing market. Below is a bit more about the companies in our Housing Stocks theme.
Lennar (NYSE:LEN) is one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S. in terms of consolidated revenue. The company focuses on segments including first-time, move-up, and active adult homebuyers (typically aged over 55 years). The stock is up by 36% year-to-date.
[7/2/2020] Stocks To Play The Housing Recovery
The U.S. housing market has shown signs of recovery despite the coronavirus pandemic, with demand appearing to outstrip supply with inventory remaining tight. Pending home sales – a measure of signed contracts on existing homes – jumped 44% month over month in May and were down just 5% year-over-year per the National Association of Realtors, while the supply of existing homes was nearly 19% lower year-over-year.  Sales of newly built homes also rose 13% year-over-year in May. So does the improving demand and tight supply make a case for investing in housing stocks?
While there remain considerable risks – given the uncertain direction of the health crisis and tough unemployment numbers – we’ve picked 5 stocks with exposure to the housing market – including D.R. Horton, Lennar, and KB Homes – which could offer upside if the market continues to expand, while providing some level of downside protection if things take a turn for the worse. These companies are reasonably large and well established (market cap over $2 billion), have been seeing steadily expanding demand (consistent 3-year revenue growth) with pricing power also improving (rising operating margins). Moreover, these companies have relatively manageable leverage. See our dashboard analysis 5 Housing Stocks That Could Outperform: DHI, LEN, KHB, PHM, IBP
What’s Driving The Housing Market & What Are The Risks?
While the surge in demand is partly due to pent up demand post the lockdowns of April, lower interest rates have also been a big driver. The 30-year mortgage rate is at multi-year lows, currently standing at roughly 3%, versus about 4.8% in 2018, making it cheaper for people to finance homes. Separately, the trend of working remotely could increase demand for larger homes as people look to upsize. People living in cities and more densely populated areas could also choose to move to the suburbs, driving demand for single-family homes. That said, the longer-term picture is still somewhat fluid. Unemployment is still at multi-year highs with economic growth likely to decline by double-digits in Q2 and daily coronavirus cases have also surged to new highs over the past week meaning that the worst of the health crisis may be far from over. This could make people more circumspect about taking on large, long-term commitments such as buying a new home.
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