Unique -- And Safe! -- Housing Plays

Andrew Fisher

Brent Wilsey says he's surprised at what he found when he went looking for investment prospects among housing-industry stocks.


The president of Wilsey Asset Management told CNBC he was impressed by a builder in the Southeast, NVR.

"They have no properties in Florida, Nevada, or California," he said.  "This builder's doing very well...they have seen their earnings decline by 39 percent, but they still did deliver a 25 percent return on equity."

He sees the company's fundamentals as very good, although the stock does tend to trade on the high side.

Not a homebuilder, but a bank, and thus very closely tied to the industry, is Wells Fargo.

"It kind of has this unique situation, that they will only loan you money if you have the potential to pay it back," he said, tongue-in-cheek. 

Among Wells Fargo's many attractions, Wilsey finds a healthy dividend, something he also sees in the REIT Prologis.

"I had to dig very hard to find a REIT that I liked here, and Prologis was one of those," he said. "Earnings for this REIT were up 35 percent year-over-year."

Bargain Buys in Real Estate

In still another corner of the housing sector, he found Travelers.

"You've got to insure your home," he said.  "Travelers is down 16 percent from its 52-week high.  You get about a 2.4 percent dividend.  The company is looking to earn $6.01 in 2008.  Maybe you'll find a dividend increase here, or perhaps a stock buyback."


Wilsey and his firm do not have any financial involvement in any of the listed entities.