Two respected investors are clashing on the state of the housing market.
In one corner is Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine, who recommended shorting the housing market. "I'm really surprised at how people are so copasetic about the homebuilders and the housing market,” he said to CNBC’s Scott Wapner at last month’s Sohn Conference. “You look at the data and it's gotten really soft.”
But Thursday, legendary investor Bill Miller called Gundlach out, saying in an interview that pent-up demand and tougher lending standards would actually help the housing industry.
So who’s right and who’s wrongs, and where could housing sector stocks be going next?
Chad Morganlander of Washington Stifel Advisors played the fence on this one. “They could both be right. It just depends on your timing,” said Morganlander, who believes housing is in a nascent recovery.
“Gundlach may be right over the next six to 12 months, but if you go 12 to 24 months out, Bill Miller I believe will be right.”
Morganlander said he needs three things to happen to stabilize the housing market: job growth, household credit expansion and time.
(Watch: Housing: Should you rent or buy?)
But, based on the technicals, Mark Newton of Greywolf Execution Parnters called housing a clear winner.
“I agree with Bill Miller,” said Newton, who brought along a chart of the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction ETF, ticker symbol ITB. “I think the ITB and the homebuilders are one of the better areas to be long and overweight not only in the short term but the long term,” he said.
The ITB has fallen 7 percent in the past three months. But the recent price action has been more constructive, and Newton said the ITB’s chart has shown “technical evidence of stabilization” in the last two weeks. The move has come amid a sharp rally in stocks.
Newton expects the ITB to rally to $26.50 per share in the short term, and $28.50 per share thereafter, or roughly 10 to 15 percent above current levels.
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