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Are Autos the Best Way to Play Housing?

Stocks in this article: F GM HD LOW AAPL

That or they will head to Home Depot (HD) or Lowe's (LOW) for some do-it-yourself projects. With the stocks up 273% and 131% in the last five years and each up more than 50% in the last year, respectively, I think we can easily tell that the move is on.

Guess what that does though? If you assumed that these companies would have to hire more because of this shift, you're right!

While we have millions of contractors headed back to work, there's one area that has been especially resurgent because of the housing recovery.

The autos.

Car sales have been raging in 2013, continuously beating estimates month after month. It's like Apple (AAPL) in the heydays of its iPhone bonanza. No matter how bullish, analysts just couldn't go high enough on Apple's revenue. Thus, a top-line smash four times a year followed suit.

With household incomes increasing dramatically for these families, new cars are in order. But even more so are trucks for the contractors. Most notably, Ford (F) has seen its F-Series truck sales rise dramatically. Up 24.1% in May and 30% in June from 2012, Ford has proved over the past two months that this recovery is for real.

General Motors (GM) is also seeing a boost, despite getting new trucks on the lot a bit later than other automakers. Vice President of Fleet and Commercial Sales at General Ed Peeper summed it up best when he said, "We're seeing service businesses, landscape companies and contractors. These are the folks coming in right now to buy one to four new trucks."

And the best part is, the auto industry is a lot like housing in terms of the 'trickle down' effect. Just as contractors, builders and mortgage brokers benefit from increased sales, so do car salesmen and dealerships, assembly line workers and parts manufacturers.

The burden of the collapsed housing and auto markets had all but crippled the economy. Being from Michigan, the effects on the state and in particular, the Greater Detroit Area, were -- and remain -- both enormous and apparent.

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