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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Down Slightly in November
by Tom Moeller January 8, 2008

The National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales in November fell 2.6% m/m and reversed most of the October gain. The level of sales remained down 22.7% year to date.

The latest monthly figure is about one third below the peak level during the Summer of 2005. The data date back only to 2001.

These figures are analogous to the new home sales data from the Commerce Dept. They measure existing home sales when the sales contract is signed, not at the time the sale is closed.

The Realtors also indicated in an earlier report that the number of homes on the market and available for sale fell slightly for the third month in the last four. Nevertheless, the level of 427,300 units was double the level at the low in early 2005.

In the Northeast, pending home sales fell 13.0% m/m and reversed all of the prior month's gain. Sales remained 20% lower than at the start of the year. Sales in the Western part of the nation fell 2.1% m/m. In the Midwest sales fell 4.1% for the second consecutive monthly decline.

Sales in the South posted the only m/m gain with a 2.3% increase but it was only the second rise in the last five months.

The pending home sales data are available in Haver's PREALTOR database and the number of homes on the market are in the REALTOR database.

Housing Woes Weigh Heavily on the Economy from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

Pending Home Sales (2001=100)  November October Y/Y 2006  2005 2004
Total 87.6  89.9    -19.2% 112.1  124.2 120.5 
  Northeast 70.1 80.6 -19.1 98.0 108.0 109.2
  Midwest 82.1 85.6 -18.6 102.0 116.4 118.0
  South 100.7 98.4 -19.8 127.4 134.8 126.6
  West 86.6 88.5 -18.5 109.6 128.7 122.7
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