Real Estate

Realogy Pops 20% in Debut; CEO Sees 'Unique' Opportunity


A new way to invest in the budding U.S. housing recovery went public on Thursday.

Realogy, which owns the Century 21 and Coldwell Banker brands, saw a 20 percent pop in its first trading day.

CEO Richard Smith said that unlike other companies that thrive indirectly from the home sector, his company is a pure-play in the housing market.

"We're not a builder. We're not a retailer. We're not Home Depot or Sherwin Williams, " he said. "We are a fee-for-service-company and we represent 93 percent of the business."

That makes Realogy "uniquely positioned to capitalize on an improving market" in housing, Smith told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

Smith sees renewed strength in the Florida housing market and healthy home prices on the Coasts. "Florida is often written off, " he said. "Florida has recovered on the unit side, it is starting to improve on price."

If you were waiting to buy that vacation home, Smith recommends buying it now.

Getting the recovery to broaden out may require an easier lending environment. "The lending standards are incredibly difficult, " he said. "They're far more difficult than they should be." (Read More: .)

Smith believes changing regulations like Dodd-Frank could help open a floodgate of potential buyers.

Still, Smith noted, "We are doing quite well in spite of that. We're pretty bullish going forward."