NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Signs of a significant housing recovery are ubiquitous. There's little controversy that the recovery is valid and enduring. As long as credit is cheap and available, as long as the pent-up demand is greater than the supply, it will endure.Then early Wednesday, the news came, as noted here by the Wall Street Journal:
Housing starts decreased 3% last month from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Since November 2011, new home construction was up 21.6% . . . .As a Barron's news story concluded, "The figures were below expectations. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast overall housing starts would drop to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 865,000, which would have been a 3.2% decline from October's previously reported figures." The upside of the Commerce Department's report was summarized by Dave Lutz, a trader at Stifel Nicolaus, who opined, "Billings by U.S. architecture firms increased in November at the fastest pace in five years, a sign construction will pick up next year as businesses invest in commercial projects. The American Institute of Architects Billings Index climbed to 53.2 last month, the highest level since November 2007, from 52.8 in October." Lutz reminded us that the index has risen for six straight months, the longest winning streak in its 17-year history. All I can add is that when the Architects Billings Index rises month after month that bodes well for the economy and for the home building industry specifically.
Construction of single-family homes, which made up two-thirds of housing starts last month, dropped 4.1% in November to a rate of 565,000 units. Single-family construction was up 22.8% from a year earlier.
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.Earlier this month luxury-home builder Toll Brothers ( TOL) let it be known that their quarterly profits surged in the fiscal fourth quarter. TOL reported that net signed contracts for building homes were more than $684 million. That's up 75% from the year-ago quarter. TOL also reported the number of units surged to 1,098 which is a 70% improvement from last year. In fact The Wall Street Journal reported that "...on a per-community basis,
As Bloomberg reported on Tuesday:
Confidence among U.S. homebuilders climbed in December for the eighth straight month, reaching its highest level in more than six years and adding to signs that real estate is aiding the economic expansion.Toll Brothers stock has had a good run since its Nov. 15th intraday low of $28.50. So investors may be well-served to wait for a correction or some weakness before investing. But don't wait too long or for too big of a price pullback. As Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link wrote to their Action Alerts Plus subscribers last week, "We like its
As the chart colorfully shows, LEN's quarterly EPS must rebound sharply to sustain its current price-per-share, which is close to a 52-week high. Lennar will report its latest quarterly numbers and step into the earnings confessional on Jan. 11. Investors and potential investors will be listening closely. If you decide to speculate on shares of TOL and LEN I encourage you to have a carefully predetermined stop-loss strategy in place to limit the downside risk. Conventional wisdom tells us, "You've got to cut your losses and let your winners ride." Now's as good a time as any to apply that wisdom as we end a volatile financial year and enter a new, promising one. As of the time of publication the author is not long shares of any company mentioned in this article.
Make smarter trading decisions and provide investment ideas that could help make you richer. Bryan Ashenberg does the dirty work so you don't have to!This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.