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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Improve Slightly
by Tom Moeller  July 27, 2016

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales rose 0.2% (1.0% y/y) during June following an unrevised 3.7% May decline. These sales are reported as an index with 2001=100. The June value of 111.0 was 3.5% below the April high, but 44.0% higher than the June 2010 low.

Sales were mixed last month throughout the country. They rose 3.2% in the Northeast after a 5.3% decline, and were up 1.7% y/y. In the Midwest, sales improved 0.8% (1.6% y/y) following a 4.2% decline. To the downside sales in the West fell 1.3% (-1.8% y/y) after a 3.4% fall. Sales in the South eased 0.6% (+1.8% y/y) after a 3.1% decrease.

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) Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total 0.2 -3.7 3.9 1.0 7.5 -3.3 4.6
Northeast 3.2 -5.3 1.2 1.7 8.0 -0.4 6.2
Midwest 0.8 -4.2 -0.8 1.6 6.8 -5.7 10.5
South -0.6 -3.1 4.1 1.8 6.5 -1.4 5.5
West -1.3 -3.4 11.4 -1.8 10.0 -5.9 -3.8
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