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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Decline
by Tom Moeller  September 29, 2016

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales fell 2.4% during August (-0.2% y/y) following a 1.2% rise, revised from 1.3%. These sales are reported as an index with 2001=100. The August value of 108.5 was 5.7% below the April peak, but 40.7% higher than the June 2010 low.

Sales were mixed last month throughout the country. They increased 1.3% (5.9% y/y) in the Northeast. Elsewhere, sales fell. In the West sales declined 5.3% (-0.6% y/y) and in the South sales were off 3.2% (-1.5% y/y). In the Midwest sales eased 0.9% (-1.7% 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) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total -2.4 1.2 -0.8 -0.2 7.5 -3.3 4.6
Northeast 1.3 0.8 3.2 5.9 8.0 -0.4 6.2
Midwest -0.9 -3.1 0.9 -1.7 6.8 -5.7 10.5
South -3.2 0.7 -2.9 -1.5 6.5 -1.4 5.5
West -5.3 7.1 -1.3 -0.6 10.0 -5.9 -3.8
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