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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Retrace Earlier Gain
by Tom Moeller  June 29, 2016

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales declined 3.7% (-0.2% y/y) during May following a 3.9% rise in April, revised from 5.1%. These sales are reported as an index with 2001=100. The May value of 110.8 was 43.7% higher than the June 2010 low.

Sales declined last month throughout the country. They were off 5.3% in the Northeast after a 1.2% rise, and were unchanged y/y. In the Midwest, sales declined 4.2% (-1.8% y/y) following a 0.8% slip. Sales in the West fell 3.4% (-0.1% y/y) after a 11.4% rise while sales in the South declined 3.1% (+0.6% y/y) after a 4,1% increase.

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) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total -3.7 3.9 1.6 -0.2 7.5 -3.3 4.6
Northeast -5.3 1.2 3.2 0.0 8.0 -0.4 6.2
Midwest -4.2 -0.8 0.9 -1.8 6.8 -5.7 10.5
South -3.1 4.1 3.0 0.6 6.5 -1.4 5.5
West -3.4 11.4 -1.8 -0.1 10.0 -5.9 -3.8
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