Research Question: What read do housing industry suppliers and real estate professionals have on the housing market in 2Q12 and 2H12?
Companies: Home Depot (HD), Lowe’s (LOW), Toll Brothers (TOL), D.R. Horton (DHI), KB Home (KBH), & Lennar (LEN)
Initial research by Blueshift indicates conflicting data about the direction of the housing market, consumer confidence, and demand at the retail level for home improvement supplies.
- A Blueshift primary interview with a top Southern California real estate agent revealed that real estate is suddenly “going nuts” and new homes are in strong demand. Additionally, foreclosure home sales rose in Q1, as short sales reached a three-year high, marking a paradigm shift in the way lenders are dealing with their distressed loans. Finally, store calls to five Home Depot locations throughout the U.S. revealed increasing store traffic and sales the past month.
- Blueshift’s May consumer lending report revealed that credit availability for credit cards and mortgage refinancing has increased as much as 50% since the end of 2011.
- Despite signs of the housing recovery picking up traction, recent data indicates that consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in four months, with analysts predicting a very modest or very sluggish recovery. Additionally, investors are concerned that the housing recovery is not happening as quickly as expected and are recommending staying away from home improvement stocks, fearing Lowe’s and Home Depot could fall 20%.
- A recent Wall Street Journal article noted that Home Depot and Lowe’s have recently experienced increased demand, but reasons remain unclear. The industry does not know if demand is a result of a housing recovery and strengthening economy or early spring-season shopping.
To better assess trends in the housing market and determine to what degree suppliers and retailers are poised to benefit, Blueshift will gather data and issue a market research report from sources in the following areas: Mortgage lenders, real estate agents, independent suppliers (paint, cabinet, flooring, big appliance), retail locations (Home Depot, Lowe’s), and industry specialists.