Housing related stocks have outpaced the broader market in 2012 as the new home market continues to recover. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) is up 24% year-to-date compared to a 7% gain for the broader market.
An unexpected jump in existing home sales caused homebuilder stocks to jump on Friday and lifted hopes for an economic recovery. Sales of existing homes increased 7.2% in July from June according to the National Association of Realtors.
November housing starts dropped 19% to 625,000, the lowest level since the Commerce Department began keeping records in 1959. According to MarketWatch, economists had predicted a seasonally adjusted pace of 725,000 in November.
US home builder stocks have been the best performing industry group over the past month. The Dow Jones US Home Construction Index is up over 11% in the past 30 days and up over 20% from the mid-July low.