A slew of data and strong retail sales indicate the housing market is gaining momentum. Even a Fed rate hike may not derail it, says an analyst. Fred Katayama reports.
The U.S. housing market is heating up. Existing home sales shot up to a nearly eight year high in July. Earlier this week, reports on homebuilder confidence and housing starts rose to highs not seen in eight to ten years. And quarterly same-store sales at Home Depot and Lowe's rose beyond Wall Street's expectations. Deutsche Bank's Brett Ryan: SOUNDBITE: BRETT RYAN, U.S. ECONOMIST, DEUTSCHE BANK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Having created nearly three million jobs and with the unemployment rate down almost a full percentage point over the past year, and by the way, consumers have saved over $140 billion in energy costs because of low oil prices, it's the perfect environment for housing." Not to mention low mortgage rates. Those could rise if the Fed hikes interest rates in September. But, barring a hefty increase or endless series of hikes, the leader of PwC's real estate practice, Mitch Roschelle, sees further growth in housing. SOUNDBITE: MITCHELL ROSCHELLE, PARTNER, PWC (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think, there's enough demand for housing, and there's a sufficient supply of financing in the new underwriting standards that the housing recover continues with or without a 25 basis point move in a few weeks." Roschelle sees an opportunity in real estate investment trusts that are exposed to student housing. High college costs have created demand for lower cost off-campus units built by private companies.