Friday, August 31 2012
Pending home sales rose in July to the highest level in more than two years as the housing market continues showing sustained signs of recovery.
The sales index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, was up 2.4 percent to 101.7 last month, its highest level since April 2010, shortly before the expiration of a home buyer tax credit, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.
The July figure is up 12.4 percent above the July 2011 level of 90.5.
"While the month-to-month movement has been uneven, more importantly we now have 15 consecutive months of year-over-year gains in contract activity," said Lawrence Yun, the NAR chief economist.
The data reflect contracts but not closings.
Limited inventory is constraining market activity, especially in the West, which is dealing with an "acute inventory shortage," Yun said.
Still, the other three regions experienced improvement last month.
The Northeast saw pending sales rise 0.5 percent to 77.0, 13.4 percent higher than a year ago, while the Midwest had a 3.4 percent improvement to 97.4, 20.2 percent above July 2011.
Pending home sales in the South rose 5.2 percent to 111.7, 15.6 percent above a year ago.
In the West the index slipped 1.7 percent in July to 109.9 but is 1.3 percent higher than July 2011.
Existing-home sales are projected to rise 8 to 9 percent in 2012, followed by another 7 to 8 percent gain in 2013.
Home prices are expected to increase 10 percent cumulatively over the next two years.
"Falling visible and shadow inventories point toward continuing price gains," Yun said. "Expected gains in housing starts of 25 to 30 percent this year, and nearly 50 percent in 2013, are insufficient to meet the growing housing demand."
Monday, September 05 2011
Pending home sales declined in July but remain well above year-ago levels, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. All regions show monthly declines except for the West, which continues to show the highest level of sales contract activity.
Regional pending home sales
The PHSI in the Northeast declined 2.0% in July but is 9.7% above July 2010. In the Midwest the index slipped 0.8% but is 18.8% above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South fell 4.8% but are 9.5% higher than July 2010. In the West the index rose 3.6% and is 20.6% above a year ago.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/pending-home-sales-slip-july-strongly-one-year-ago/#ixzz1WRj65Now
Monday, January 31 2011
Pending home sales improved further in December, marking the fifth gain in the past six months, according to the National Association of Realtors®
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator, increased 2.0 percent to 93.7 based on contracts signed in December from a downwardly revised 91.9 in November. The index is 4.2 percent below the 97.8 mark in December 2009. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, credits good affordability conditions and economic improvement. “Modest gains in the labor market and the improving economy are creating a more favorable backdrop for buyers, allowing them to take advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions. Mortgage rates should rise only modestly in the months ahead, so we’ll continue to see a favorable environment for buyers with good credit,” he said.
“In the past two years, home buyers have been very successful, with super-low loan default rates, partly because of stable home prices during that time. That trend is likely to continue in 2011 as long as there is sufficient demand to absorb inventory,” Yun said. “The latest pending sales gain suggests activity is very close to a sustainable, healthy volume of a mid-5 million total annual home sales. However, sales above 6 million, as occurred during the bubble years, is highly unlikely this year.”
The PHSI in the Northeast increased 1.8 percent to 73.9 in December but is 5.3 percent below December 2009. In the Midwest the index rose 8.0 percent in December to 84.6 but is 5.1 percent below a year ago. Pending home sales in the South jumped 11.5 percent to an index of 101.9 and are 1.7 percent above December 2009. In the West the index fell 13.2 percent to 105.8 and is 10.7 percent below a year ago.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.
The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined as well as the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales; it coincides with a level that is historically healthy.
NOTE: Existing-home sales for January will be reported February 23 along with revisions for the past three years, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be released February 28. Fourth quarter metro area home prices and state home sales will be published February 10; release times are 10:00 a.m. EST.
Wednesday, April 07 2010
Pending home sales rose in February, potentially signaling a second surge of home sales in response to the homebuyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in February, rose 8.2% from January, and remains 17.3% above February 2009 levels. The PHSI data reflects contracts and not closings, which usually occur with a lag time of one or two months.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said the improvement is a hopeful sign. “The rise in buyer contact activity may signal the early stages of a second surge of home sales this spring. The healthy gain hints home prices are continuing to flatten,” he said. “We need a second surge to meaningfully draw down inventory and definitively stabilize home values.”
The PHSI in the Northeast rose 9.0% in February, up 18.9% from February 2009. In the Midwest, the index jumped 21.8% and is 18.7% above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South increased 9.2%, which is 17.5% higher than February 2009. In the West, the index fell 4.8%, but is 14.6% above a year ago.
“Anecdotally, we’re hearing about a rise of activity in recent weeks with ongoing reports of multiple offers in more markets, so the March data could demonstrate additional improvement from buyers responding to the tax credit,” Yun said.
Thursday, October 01 2009
Pending home sales have increased for seven straight months, the longest in the series of the index which began in 2001, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in August, rose 6.4 percent to 103.8 from a reading of 97.6 in July, and is 12.4 percent above August 2008 when it was 92.4. The index is at the highest level since March 2007 when it was 104.5.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said not all contracts are turning into closed sales within an expected timeframe. “The rise in pending home sales shows buyers are returning to the market and signing contracts, but deals are not necessarily closing because of long delays related to short sales, and issues regarding complex new appraisal rules,” he said. “No doubt many first-time buyers are rushing to beat the deadline for the $8,000 tax credit, which expires at the end of next month.”
The Pending Home Sales Index in the Northeast jumped 8.2 percent to 85.3 in August and is 12.0 percent higher than August 2008. In the Midwest the index rose 3.1 percent to 90.8 in August and is 7.6 percent above a year ago. In the South, pending home sales increased 0.8 percent to an index of 104.6 and is 8.2 percent above August 2008. In the West the index surged 16.0 percent to 130.5 and is 22.3 percent above a year ago.
“There is likely to be some double counting over a span of several months because some buyers whose contracts were cancelled have found another home and signed a new contract to buy,” Yun explained. “Perhaps the real question is how many transactions are being delayed in the pipeline, and how many are being cancelled? Without historic precedents, it’s challenging to assess.”
Yun also noted that the data sample coverage for pending sales is smaller than the measurement for closed existing-home sales, so the two series will never match one for one.
NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth, said first-time buyers need to act now. “Potential first-time buyers must make a contract offer very soon to have a reasonable chance of qualifying for the tax credit,” he said. “Congress needs to extend and expand this program because it’s stimulating the economy and reducing inventory close to price stabilization points.”
McMillan said a sizable number of homebuyers already in the pipeline could be let down because of the tight deadline. “We know there is a pent-up demand because sales are below normal levels for the size of our population. The faster we absorb excess inventory, the sooner we’ll turn the corner on home prices, prevent additional families from becoming upside-down in their mortgages, and give Wall Street the confidence to extend credit to other sectors,” he said. “Each home sale pumps an additional $63,000 into the economy through related goods and services, so the benefits of extending and expanding the tax credit far outweigh the costs.”
Yun said the forecast for home sales and prices depends very much on whether a tax credit is extended. “All we can say for certain is sales will decline when the tax credit expires because we are not yet on a self-sustaining recovery path. It also raises a risk of a double-dip recession,” he said. “Extending and expanding the tax credit is the best tool in our arsenal to encourage financially qualified buyers to stimulate the economy and help reduce the budget deficit.”