Real Estate Search, Builders Gain On Housing Data

Traders poured into real estate Tuesday after the commerce department released a mixed housing report that indicated better days on the horizon. Shares of housing search sites Zillow, $Z, Realtor.com owner Move, $MOVE, and Trulia, $TRLA, all gained more than 2%. Homebuilder ETFs, such as $XHB and $ITB, also climbed.

$trla Followrs rest 30of39 I cover up from open.My real estate IPO plays $trla 4% & $z As real estate recovers we need2pay close attention

— John Noland (@IPOTrader) Mar. 18 at 12:39 PM

Housing starts fell in February for the third month in a row, according to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing. However, they edged past Wall Street consensus estimates. The number of building permits rose 7.7% from the prior month to more than one million, also topping expectations.

Feb Housing Starts 907k vs 910k expected, Permits 1018k vs 960k. $XHB $ITB

— Ben Silverberg (@silverjet2) Mar. 18 at 08:37 AM

Traders seized on the permit news as evidence that the snowy winter, which set records in many areas across the nation, was to blame for recent weak data. Spring, they argued, would usher in more home construction, more sales and more buyers searching for homes.

Some cashtaggers said Zillow was particularly positioned well. The site recently hired away Move’s chief strategy officer and president Errol Samuelson. Move is suing to block the hire, arguing that its trade secrets are threatened.

$Z stock is on fire… the dominant real estate marketplace will have a value much higher than $3.5B.

— Mark Holder (@StoneFoxCapital) Mar. 18 at 01:57 PM

To be sure, some cashtaggers aren’t buying the housing recovery. They argue that the numbers barely beat expectations and are too small to matter. Today’s new homes, they said, will become tomorrow’s rental units.

If you build it they will rent. $XHB $ITB $SPY #Amerika

— LMF (@mytfine) Mar. 18 at 08:37 AM


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