It's time to buy D.R. Horton, Lennar and other homebuilders as the housing market is due for a comeback, according to KeyBanc Capital Markets. Analyst Kenneth Zener double upgraded the homebuilding sector to overweight from underweight, saying history points to higher prices after declines this year, which came amid slowing demand and rising mortgage rates. "On balance, we see fundamental and rate pressure persisting, but positive relative performance, supporting our upgrades ... with approximately 20% upside to our [overweight] price targets from current levels," Zener wrote in a Friday note. Horton, Lennar, Meritage, Pulte and TopBuild were raised to overweight, some from underweight and some from sector weight, while KB Home and Toll Brothers were raised to sector weight. The analyst pointed to data going back to 1963 showing that the relationship between homebuilders and the S & P 500 now offers relative risk to reward. Over the past 19 economic cycles, "Builders fell 41% (28% vs. the S & P) with those same cycles' recoveries offering 194% upside (up 141% vs. the S & P)," Zener wrote. "What surprised us (and many PMs are measured against stock performance), is how EARLY builders are vs. the market." "On balance, we see fundamental and rate pressure persisting, but positive relative performance, supporting our upgrades," Zener wrote. Shares of D.R. Horton rose 0.9% in Monday premarket trading. Lennar was unchanged. — CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this report.