NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV - Get Report) closed higher by 6.25% to $1.53 on Friday afternoon, as homebuilding stocks got a jolt from the strong U.S. housing data released today.

U.S. home resales rallied in December from a 19-month low and prices jumped, both indications that the housing market recovery is still intact despite recent signs of deceleration, Reuters reports.

Existing home sales grew by 14.7% year over year to an annual rate of 5.46 million units, the National Association of Realtors reported, according to Reuters.

Sales were up due to unseasonably warm weather and a rush of buyers into the market due to expectations of higher mortgage rates.

"We knew a significant number of closings were delayed by new regulations that came into effect in October. Overall, 2015 was a very good year and we're positioned for a strong spring market," Berkshire Hathaway Home Services president Stephen Phillips told Reuters.

Hovnanian Enterprises is a Red Bank, NJ-based designer, constructor and seller of single family detached homes.

Separately, Hovnanaian Enterprises was rated a "sell" with a score of D+ by TheStreet Ratings. This is driven by several weaknesses, which TheStreet Ratings believes should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks it covers.

The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. 

You can view the full analysis from the report here: HOV

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