Cramer Calls the Housing Bottom

The economy will never recover if housing doesn’t find its footing first. But when will that happen? Cramer said he expects a bottom by the third quarter of 2009.

There is, of course, the usual Mad Money rigor behind this prediction. Cramer pointed first to the stock charts of Pulte Homes, Toll Brothers, DR Horton, KB Homes, Lennar , Centex and MDC. All of them show a peak exactly one year before housing did in July 2006. Well, guess what? Now these charts are showing that housing stocks bottomed last month. So if the logic worked for housing’s peak, why not for it’s bottom?

On top of this, Cramer added his thesis that stocks usually tell the story of their respective industries for six months out. So in a sense, investors can use stocks to see six months into the future. Part of the reason Cramer’s saying a year this time, though, is because the market is so horrible he’s allowing for setbacks. He doesn’t want to be premature, especially considering the aforementioned stock charts seem to indicate a year is a better timeline.

Cramer’s got street cred when making calls on housing. Remember when he told you last year that anyone who bought a home then would lose money on the purchase? They did. (Remember how the National Association of Realtors freaked out when he said that?)

But here are 10 more reasons Cramer thinks we’re in store for a housing bottom

We’re building fewer homes, so inventories have the chance to come down.

The recent housing-rescue bill authorized the Federal Housing Authority to put $300 billion toward getting homeowners out of difficult floating rate loans to the low fixed-rate kind.

Prices have come down enough to lure out the bargain shoppers, about an average of 7% year-over-year. Today’s S&P housing numbers showed declines of over 25% in some areas. That trend could continue.

At last the holdout markets have rolled over – think New York. When that happens, a recovery can happen.

If – and Cramer thinks this is a when – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are taken over by the government, mortgage rates will come down. They’ve been going up month to month recently.

The bulk of those teaser-rate loans – those that offer low rates for the first two years and then reset to much higher rates – will reset in the third quarter of this year because they peaked in the third quarter of 2006. That means there will be fewer foreclosures as a result because there will be few loans changing to those higher rates.

There’s a tremendous amount of household formation, 800,000 every year, Cramer said. Four million babies born each year, divorces, 2.5 million new citizen – they call create demand.

Immigration had been bringing in 1 million people a year, but that’s been cut back a bit. But both McCain and Obama are pro-naturalization, so that number could return to previous levels after November.

The horror shows that are the California, Florida and Arizona real estate markets are no longer bleeding into other areas. These heavy losses are being cordoned off, Cramer said, and different markets are evening out.

Lastly, even these horrible areas – Bradenton in Florida and the Central Valley in California – are bottoming. The first to fall is usually the first to return, Cramer said. He’s predicting that Miami and the Inland Empire are next.

Once that happens it will be the third quarter of 2009, and Cramer thinks he thesis will be apparent to everyone by then. So here’s the countdown: 309 days until June 30, 2009 – the deadline for a much-needed housing bottom.

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