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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Surge to 10-Year High
by Tom Moeller  May 26, 2016

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of single-family homes jumped 5.1% in April (4.6% y/y) following a little-revised 1.6% March increase. The April sales volume was the strongest since February 2006. These sales are reported as an index with 2001=100. The April value of 116.3 was 50.8% higher than the June 2010 low.

April sales performance varied around the country. Sales were strongest in the West where an 11.4% increase (2.8% y/y) was registered. Sales in the South followed with a 6.8% gain (5.1% y/y), and sales in the Northeast rose 1.2% (10.1% y/y). Moving the other way were sales in the Midwest which eased 0.6% (+2.0% y/y).

The pending home sales figures are analogous to the new home sales data from the Census Bureau. 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 Apr Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total 5.1 1.6 3.4 4.6 7.5 -3.3 4.6
Northeast 1.2 3.2 -0.2 10.1 8.0 -0.4 6.2
Midwest -0.6 0.9 11.4 2.0 6.8 -5.7 10.5
South 6.8 3.0 1.5 5.1 6.5 -1.4 5.5
West 11.4 -1.8 1.4 2.8 10.0 -5.9 -3.8
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