Wall Street is hitching its bullish hopes for 2013 to an unlikely star, believing that a real estate industry that led the economy into the abyss is what ultimately will carry it back out.
While hopes that housing is about to turn a corner aren't entirely new, the extent to which optimistic stock market forecasts are pinned on the mercurial sector is striking.
"We're seeing much more evidence of a meaningful recovery in housing," said Joe LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank. "The (household) balance sheet is better, the housing sector is better, we're seeing better motor vehicle sales. The cyclical side of the economy, which had looked very weak coming out of the last downturn, looks almost like (it could lead the recovery)."
These calls are coming at a time of year when Wall Street strategists and economists hold media briefing sessions to discuss their broad outlooks for the year. (Read More: Why Companies Still Aren't Likely to Invest—or Hire)
While forecasting is always fluid and target numbers for the stock market and economy almost always change along the way, some themes resonate.
During discussions at this year's events, the idea that real estate is ready not just to avoid being a drag but now come to the forefront of growth has become prevalent.