The most encouraging housing data in more than two years gave housing stocks a healthy boost today.
Existing-home sales in August were up 7.8% from the previous month and 9.3% from last August. Housing starts also improved, increasing 2.3% from July, with single-family home construction jumping to its highest total since April 2010.
Sales prices also increased, rising 9.5% from last August.
It all points to a long-awaited housing recovery. It also did wonders for stocks and ETFs in the housing sector in today’s trading session.
Here were some of the day’s fastest-rising housing stocks. Against the backdrop of a market that was virtually stagnant today, these gains look even more impressive:
- Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOLL): Shares of the national homebuilder rose 3.5% to close near a 52-week high at $36.41 a share.
- IShares Dow Jones US Home Construction (NYSE: ITB): Not surprisingly, this ETF was up 2.6%. It has now gained more than 61% in 2012.
- SPDR S&P Homebuilders (XHB): The other major ETF that tracks the housing market, XHB ascended 1.76% today. It’s now up almost 48% for the year.
- Lowe’s Companies (NYSE: LOW): The home improvement supply chain jumped 1.4% to close just a couple ticks below $30 a share.
- Home Depot (NYSE: HD): Shares rose 1% during the trading day, and are up another 0.6% in after hours to achieve a new 52-week high.