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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Surge To 2006 High
by Tom Moeller  May 28, 2015

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of single-family homes increased 3.4% during April following a little-revised 1.2% gain during March. The latest level was the highest level since December 2006. Expectations were for a 0.9% increase according to Bloomberg. These sales are reported as an index with 2001=100. The April value was 112.4, up 45.8% from the 2010 low.

Movement in home sales varied greatly around the country during April. In the Northeast, sales increased 10.1% (7.0% y/y) to the highest level in two years. Sales in the Midwest rose 5.0% (11.6% y/y) to the highest point since November 2005. In the South, sales increased 2.3% (14.6% y/y) to the highest level since March 2006. Home sales in the West were little-changed (18.4% y/y) at the highest level since June 2012.

The pending home sales figures are analogous to the new home sales data from the Commerce Department. They measure home sales when the sales contract is signed, not at the time the sale is closed. In developing the model for the index, the NAR demonstrated that the level of monthly sales contract activity parallels the level of closed existing home sales in the following two months. The series dates back to 2001 and the data are available in Haver's PREALTOR database.

Pending Home Sales (%, SA) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total 3.4 1.2 3.6 13.3 -4.4 5.0 11.8
Northeast 10.1 -1.5 -2.6 7.0 -1.4 7.0 17.6
Midwest 5.0 -2.4 11.5 11.6 -6.3 11.3 18.6
South 2.3 4.0 -0.2 14.6 -2.0 6.0 12.9
West 0.1 1.7 6.5 18.4 -8.7 -3.8 1.5
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