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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Improve
by Tom Moeller  March 28, 2018

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales increased 3.1% (-4.1% y/y) in February to an index level of 107.5 (2001=100). The gain followed a downwardly revised 5.0% January decline. Winter storms and a low supply of homes on the market were indicated by the NAR as holding down recent sales.

Pending sales improved in each region of the country, led by a 10.3% rise (-5.1% y/y) in the Northeast following a 9.0% fall. Sales in the South increased 3.0% (-1.5% y/y) after a 3.8% decline. Sales in the Midwest improved 0.7% (-9.5% y/y) after a 6.6% shortfall, while sales in the West rose 0.4% (-2.2% y/y) after a 2.6% decline.

The pending home sales index measures home sales when the sales contract is signed, analogous to the Census Bureau's new home sales data. In contrast, the National Association of Realtors' existing home sales data are recorded when the sale is closed. In developing the pending home sales index, the NAR found 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. United States Population Weighted Heating and Cooling Degree Days dates back to 1949 and can be found in the USECON database.

Pending Home Sales (SA, 2001=100) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 107.5 104.3 109.8 -4.1 109.0 109.8 108.8
Northeast 96.0 87.0 95.6 -5.1 97.2 96.4 90.8
Midwest 98.9 98.2 105.1 -9.5 104.8 107.4 107.1
South 125.7 122.0 126.8 -1.5 123.8 122.9 123.1
West 96.9 96.5 99.1 -2.2 99.6 102.4 102.2
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