How to play the housing recovery: Pros

Housing wealth effect
Housing wealth effect

New positive housing data show the consumer environment is still healthy and some of the concerns about the housing recovery are misplaced, investment pros told CNBC on Tuesday.

U.S. housing starts and building permits rebounded strongly in July, suggesting the housing market recovery is back on track.

"As it relates to consumer spending, when you see Home Depot put up 6 percent comps, it certainly suggests to us that the consumer environment is still healthy and consumers are spending on housing-related activities," Jeremy Zirin, chief equity strategist at UBS, said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

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On Tuesday, Home Depot reported a 5.7 percent rise in quarterly sales as customers spent more on home repairs after a severe North American winter.

A construction worker climbs on the roof of a home in Boca Raton, Florida.
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The latest housing data also appeared to be giving a boost to home builder stocks. According to the Commerce Department, groundbreaking surged 15.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual 1.09-million unit pace, snapping two straight months of declines.

Last month, permits rose 8.1 percent to a 1.05-million unit pace.

Russell Investments' Jeff Hussey told "Power Lunch" he thinks the positive housing news will likely trickle over to consumer spending.

"On net, we view this as very positive, very bullish," he said.

Hussey is overweight consumer discretionary.

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However, Zirin suggested being selective, considering the fact that the retail sector has largely disappointed on earnings.

"It really depends on where you are positioned with in retail." Zirin said. "If you have a particularly strong e-commerce presence or have housing-related end-markets, that's a positive."

While housing starts beat economists' expectations, some markets are hotter than others, MetroStudy's Bradley Hunter told "Street Signs."

Where to buy a home
Where to buy a home

In Texas, Dallas, Houston and Austin are "incredibility strong" thanks to the oil boom, he said, and Atlanta is turning around after being badly beaten up. He thinks Denver and Riverside, California, are also hot markets, with housing starts up 42.4 percent and 48.5 percent respectively quarter over quarter.

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That said, different areas are in different stages of recovery.

"Some of them are moving up slowly and others are moving up fast," he said.

—By CNBC's Michelle Fox. Reuters contributed to this report.