A Wall Street Journal article making the rounds this morning notes some big investors have turned bullish on the housing market in the past quarter.
Among the big names mentioned are hedge funds run by SAC Capital Advisors LP, Blackstone Group LP (NYSE:BX) and Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS). Goldman Sachs' mention is particularly notable, as they have recently been perceived as holding a more negative view of the outlook for the U.S. economy than consensus estimates.
"The housing-price bottom is probably in sight," the article quotes a Goldman report from December 15 as stating. The report also predicts that a rise of 30 percent in housing prices could follow a decline of some 3 percent next year.
Even if the opinion of some sophisticated market participants is turning, a rebound in the housing market is anything but certain. While there is some pent-up demand for housing, mainly resulting from people who have failed to form independent households in the past few years, economic conditions will dictate the future of the market.
Tight mortgage lending conditions, which persist at the moment, will also play into any potential developments.
The article quotes Mark Hanson, who runs a hedge fund-focused research firm that argues a sustained rebound is several years down the road as noting "The smartest money in the world has been carried out on stretchers betting on a true recovery for housing."
Shares of U.S. homebuilders were widely up on the news. The Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index, which tracks some of the largest publicly-traded residential builders in the country, was up 3.17 percent in mid-morning trading. Individual builders such as M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:MDC), Hovanian Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:HOV) and D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) were exceeding that benchmark.