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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Rebound
by Tom Moeller  October 27, 2016

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales increased 1.5% during September following a 2.5% August decline, revised from -2.4%. These sales are reported as an index with 2001=100. The September value of 110.0 was 4.3% below the April peak, but 42.7% higher than the June 2010 low.

Sales were mixed last month throughout the country. They increased 4.7% (4.0% y/y) in the West, and made up most of the August decline. Sales gained 1.9% (1.7% y/y) in the South after a 3.2% fall. To the downside, sales were off 1.6% (+7.7% y/y) in the Northeast after a 1.3% rise, while sales eased 0.2% (-1.0% y/y) in the Midwest following a 0.8% slip.

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) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total 1.5 -2.5 1.2 2.4 7.5 -3.3 4.6
Northeast -1.6 1.3 0.8 7.7 8.0 -0.4 6.2
Midwest -0.2 -0.8 -3.1 -1.0 6.8 -5.7 10.5
South 1.9 -3.2 0.7 1.7 6.5 -1.4 5.5
West 4.7 -5.5 7.1 4.0 10.0 -5.9 -3.8
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