NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The housing recovery appears to be on track, but is not quite as strong as it once was, TheStreet's Brittany Umar said in analyzing the better-than-expected S&P/Case-Schiller Index results for December.
The index rose 0.8%, which beat economists' expectations for a rise of 0.6%. For the year, the S&P/Case-Schiller Index rose 13.4%. However, Umar pointed out that December's reading represented a 0.1% drop from the month prior, while the annualized rate dropped from 13.7% in November.
Last year was the best year for the index since 2005, according to David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Dow Jones Indices Index Committee. He added that the strongest part of the recovery may be over, as gains from month to month are beginning to slow.
Umar said Blitzer's opinion seems to correlate with Toll Brothers' (TOL) recent earnings results. The company posted strong quarterly sales results, up 52% year over year, but cut its guidance on 2014 finished houses to 5,850 units from 6,100 units. Its housing orders for the quarter also dropped for the first time in three years.
Home Depot (HD) continues to benefit from the housing recovery. She said the company beat earnings per share estimates but missed on sales expectations. Weather has been a concern and has negatively affected Home Depot as well as home sales and homebuilders.