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Bearish Sign in Housing Recovery: Economist

Still Some Cracks in Housing Recovery?

Net household formation figures could be exposing some weakness in the housing recovery, Gluskin Sheff & Associates Chief Economist and Strategist David Rosenberg said Thursday.

"I'm not going to sit here and say that the data aren't telling the truth," he said. "We certainly have a housing recovery."

On CNBC's "Fast Money," however, he said that net household formation was coming off an unusually low level of approximately 400,000 to reach nearly 1 million.

"We've more or less had a catch-up in terms of where housing starts are relative to where underlying demographic demand is," Rosenberg said. "The question really is: Are we going to get net household formation going to 1.3, 1.5, 1.8 million?"

Headwinds facing the housing recovery were issues such as tight credit, a lack of first-time buyers, high unemployment for young people and tight inventory.

While sales of existing homes were increasing, recently hitting a three-year high, Rosenberg noted the lack of "natural buyers."

"Almost a quarter of those sales are institutional investors gobbling up homes and then re-renting them out," he said. "That's not a natural buyer."

(Read More: Finally, More Homes for Sale)

Rosenberg said that he was willing to become bullish on the housing recovery based upon a return in first-time home buyers, which accounted for 30 percent of turnover activity.

"They're going to have to cross above 40 percent," he said.

Trader disclosure: On March 21, 2013, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Brian Kelly is long GOLD; Brian Kelly is long SILVER; Brian Kelly is long S&P; Brian Kelly is long TREASURY NOTES ; Brian Kelly is long BUNDS; Brian Kelly is short DAX; Brian Kelly is short CAC; Brian Kelly is short EUROSTOXX; Brian Kelly is short OIL; Brian Kelly is short GASOLINE; Jon Najarian is long SSRI; Jon Najarian is long GSK; Jon Najarian is long NKE CALLS; Jon Najarian is short ORCL Puts; Jon Najarian is short LGF; Jon Najarian is long JNPR; Simon Baker is funds long AAPL; Simon Baker is funds long CSCO; Simon Baker is funds long DE; Simon Baker is funds long F; Simon Baker is funds long GOOG; Simon Baker is funds long MSFT; Simon Baker is funds long QQQ; Simon Baker is funds long XLY; Simon Baker is funds long JNPR; Simon Baker is funds long QCOM.