Concerns about the housing market have clouded many investors' optimism about the economic recovery. But after a strong housing starts number on Friday, two key releases in this week could put real estate in a brighter light.
"I'm looking for evidence that the housing recovery is still intact, and that's what I'm expecting to see," said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. "I think that the durability of the recovery in housing is impressive. The pace of it leaves something to be desired. But I actually believe that a fair amount of the more recent weakness is weather-related. And I will be proved right or wrong in that belief."
On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors will release April's existing home sales data. And on Friday, the U.S. Census Bureau reports sales numbers for newly constructed homes.
These releases come on the back of Friday's strong housing starts numbers, which came in at 1.07 million units versus expectations of 980,000 starts. However, the news isn't quite as good as that number implies, given that nearly all of the growth was in multifamily homes, while single-family home starts rose less than 1 percent.
Whether single-family housing will pick up this year is "kind of the $64,000 question," said Jay McCanless, an analyst covering homebuilders for Sterne Agee.
For the analyst, it ultimately comes down to financing.
"The biggest issue right now is that you don't have financial availability like you should for the entry-level buyer to get back into this market," he told CNBC.com. "If we see a change in the lending standards, if we see down-payment standards relaxed, that sort of thing," then the market for single-family housing could surge.