3 Buy-Rated Homebuilder Stocks to Own in 2021

The housing sector was seeing steady demand prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. But  while the pandemic disrupted the business of most industries, it actually accelerated the growth of home-building companies as people, finding themselves having to work from home, with their children locked out of school, began seeking bigger and better living spaces.  A low mortgage-rate environment has further bolstered demand for new home ownerships and home upgrades…

Investors’ interest in homebuilding stocks is reflected in SPDR Series Trust SPDR Homebuilders ETF’s (XHB) 30.5% returns over the past year.

With a diminished need generally for certain types of workers to work from company offices or sites, and with a desire to flee congested, COVID-19 intense cities, people are migrating in droves from cities to  suburban regions. With this seismic demographic shift, demand for homes has taken off and should keep growing. As a result, companies in the home building space with broad geographic footprints are likely to gain more in the coming weeks and months. The continuation of the low interest-rate environment should also support the industry’s growth in the foreseeable future. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has affirmed that he sees no interest rate hikes on the horizon.

Given this backdrop, we think it  wise to invest in fundamentally sound homebuilding stocks like PulteGroup, Inc. (PHM – Get Rating), Meritage Homes Corporation (MTH – Get Rating), and M/I Homes, Inc. (MHO – Get Rating).

PulteGroup, Inc. (PHM – Get Rating)

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, PHM today ranks as the nation’s third  largest homebuilding company with operations in 23 states and 42 major markets. The company’s segments include homebuilding and financial services. PHM’s portfolio of brands include Centex, Pulte, Del Webb, DiVosta, John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, and American West.

For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2020, the company’s total revenue increased 5.8% year-over-year to $3.19 billion. Its homebuilding revenues, which accounted for 96.7% of total revenue, increased 4.7% year-over-year to $3.06 billion. Its net new orders increased 24% year-over-year to 7,056 homes and order value increased 33% year-over-year to $3.3 billion. Its net income increased 30.5% year-over-year to $438.11 million, yielding EPS of $1.62, which surpassed the Street’s estimate by 7%.

Analysts expect PHM’s revenue to increase 27% for the quarter ending March 31, 2021, 23.8% this year and 7% next year. The company’s EPS is expected to grow 19.3% this year, 10.7% next year and at a rate of 13.8% per annum over the next five years. The company has an impressive earnings surprise history; it beat consensus EPS estimates in each of the trailing four quarters.

Last month, PHM announced the commencement of cash tender offers to purchase up to $300 million of its outstanding 5.5% senior notes due 2026 and 5.0% senior notes due 2027. Also last month, the company announced its plans to enter the Denver market and expand into the Triad area of North Carolina. PHM approved a 17% increase in its quarterly cash dividend to $0.14 per common share, which was paid on January 5. On a year-to-date basis, the stock has gained 7.5% to close yesterday’s trading session at $46.36.

PHM’s strong fundamentals are reflected in its POWR Ratings. The POWR Ratings are calculated by considering 118 different factors with each factor weighted to an optimal degree.

The stock has an overall rating of B, which equates to Buy in our proprietary rating system. PHM has a grade of B for Value and Quality.

In addition to the POWR Ratings grades I have just highlighted, you can see the PHM ratings for Growth, Momentum, Stability and Sentiment here.

Also, the stock is ranked #3 of 24 stocks in the B-rated Homebuilders industry.

Meritage Homes Corporation (MTH – Get Rating)

Founded in 1985, MTH designs and builds single-family homes in the U.S.  Having closed on the sale of more than 135,000 homes, the company has invested millions of dollars in a relentless pursuit of building better, smarter and healthier homes. MTH’s homebuilding segment is engaged in  acquiring and developing land, constructing homes, and marketing and selling those homes.

MTH’s  total orders for the fourth quarter (ended December 31, 2020) increased 52% year-over-year,  driven by an 87% increase in absorptions per store that was largely due to general market strength, as well as strong demand for MTH’s entry-level homes. Its home closing revenue increased 27.7% year-over-year to $1.41 billion. Its net earnings increased 47.2% year-over-year to $152.53 million, and its  EPS increased 49.8% year-over-year to $3.97.

Analysts expect the company’s revenue to increase 16.4% for the quarter ending March 31, 2021, 15.5% for the quarter ending June 2021 and…

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