In its November report, mortgage security firm Freddie Mac called 2017 the “best year in a decade” for the housing market by a variety of measures.
These include low inflation, strong job growth and historically-low mortgage rates.
This assessment is very encouraging, not just for homebuyers and builders and the U.S. economy in general, but also for commodities, resources and raw materials as we head into 2018.
Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, it’s still instructive to look back at how materials performed the last time the U.S. was ramping up housing starts and mortgages.
The last housing boom, which peaked in 2006, was accompanied by elevated commodity prices.
We could see a return to these valuations over the next couple of years on higher demand, a stronger macroeconomic backdrop and cyclical fundamentals, as shown in the following chart courtesy of DoubleLine Capital: Speaking on CNBC’s “Halftime Report” last week, DoubleLine founder Jeffrey Gundlach said he thought "investors should add commodities to their portfolios” for 2018, pointing out that they are just as cheap relative to stocks as they were at historical turning points.
“We’re at that level where in the past you would have wanted commodities” in your portfolio, Gundlach said.
“The repetition of this is almost eerie.
And so if you look at that chart, the value in commodities is, historically, exactly where you want it to be a buy.” A Wealth of Positive Housing Data There’s more to support the commodities narrative than cyclicality.
December’s National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI)soared to 74, eight points up from the November reading and its highest report since July 1999.