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Home Builder Optimism Up, Industry Expert Says

Things are looking up for housing, at least among home builders, one industry expert said Thursday.

Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, saw a bullish sign at the trade group’s International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.

“The signs of optimism that we’ve been seeing in the economy are really being reflected in the attendance at the trade show,” he said on “Fast Money.”

Howard said attendance at the event, which runs Feb. 8-11, was up 10 percent from last year and more than 900 exhibitors had made the trip.

“More importantly, the mood among the exhibitors and builders in attendance is more buoyant that it’s been in the last two or three years,” he said.

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Howard said that membership in NAHB had dropped off in recent years along with the housing crisis but was now at its highest point since 2007.

“The signs are all there in the economy, and the signs are here in Orlando, that things are turning around,” he said.

Last week, an Associated Press reported that home builders saw stability ahead, although executives from PulteGroup, MDC Holdings, M/I Homes and Beazer Homes USA were cautious in their forecasts.

Joe Terranova of Virtus Investment Partners said it might be too soon to get bullish.

“Unfortunately, there’s still a tremendous amount of supply out there, and it’s not dispersed regionally. It’s generally dispersed, and I think that’s somewhat problematic,” he said. “And I don’t think we can really call a turn in housing until house prices show stabilization and the possibility that they can actually appreciate.”

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Trader disclosure: On Feb. 9, 2012, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Terranova is long VRTS; Terranova is long TBT; Terranova is long IBM; Terranova is long EMC; Terranova is long AXP; Terranova is long TRLG; Terranova is long AAPL; Terranova is long SNDK; Terranova is long MCD; Terranova is long OXY; Terranova is long FXE; Terranova is long CNX; Terranova is long SBUX; Terranova is long SU; Terranova is long CSCO; Terranova is long UNG Puts; Najarian is long AAPL; Najarian is long BAC; Najarian Is long JPM; Najarian is long CSCO; Najarian is long EMC; Najarian is long VMW; Najarian is long AAPL; Najarian is long DMND; Najarian is long CIGX; Najarian is long CBOE; Najarian is long CME; Finerman’s fund is long BAC; Finerman’s fund is long JPM; Finerman’s fund is long IBM; Finerman’s fund is long HPQ; Finerman’s fund is short SPY; Finerman’s fund is short MDY; Finerman’s fund is short IWM;

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