Big money is starting to wager on housing. Dec.29.2011 WSJ
Hedge funds run by Caxton Associates LP, SAC Capital Advisors LP, Avenue Capital and
Blackstone Group LP have been buying housing-related investments, betting on
a rebound. And formerly bearish research firm Zelman & Associates now predicts
a housing pickup, as does Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Other investors seem to be making the same bet. Shares of home builders are up 30%
since the end of the third quarter, as measured by the Dow Jones index tracking those
shares, topping a nearly 10.5% gain for the Standard & Poor's 500.
"We turned bullish on housing. A rebound is coming," says Andrew Law, chief investment
officer at $10 billion hedge-fund firm Caxton. He expects that home prices and
construction will rise in 2012.
"The housing-price bottom is probably in sight," Goldman said in a
December 15 report.
Housing prices might decline by 3% next year before beginning a rise, Goldman says.
The bank predicts gains of 30% over the following 10 years, not taking inflation into account.
Some investors and market observers aren't convinced of an imminent turnaround.
Still, investors try to anticipate economic trends before they materialize. Even some
housing skeptics acknowledge that real estate may no longer be the drag it has been
on the economy.