Fresh evidence that the housing market is continuing to heal is becoming more common. The problem for investors, though, is that the stocks have already priced in the housing recovery.
Financial and housing stocks were some of the biggest winners in 2012 as investors, correctly, anticipated the housing recovery. The financial sector of the Standard & Poor's 1500 index was the No. 1 sector of the 10, turning in a 24.2% gain in 2012.
Home-building stocks have done even better. The home-building industry group rocketed 84% last year, making it one of the best industry groups.
The question now is whether investors who didn't buy home builder and financial stocks last year, before the recovery, can still make money. Now that many investors are aware of the housing recovery, the stocks aren't priced nearly as attractively.
Credit Suisse, for instance, is neutral on shares of large home builder PulteGroup despite improvements in the condition of the business. And Byron Wien of Blackstone Advisory Partners predicts financial stocks will fare poorly in 2013 due to international competition and low trading volumes.
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