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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Reversed Most of the April Improvement
by Tom Moeller July 8, 2008

The National Association of Realtors reported that the level of pending sales of existing homes in May fell by 4.7% and reversed most of the 7.1% April gain. That was upwardly revised. The decline exceeded Consensus expectations for a 2.5% drop.

These figures are analogous to the new home sales data from the Commerce Department in that they measure existing home sales when the sales contract is signed, not at the time the sale is closed. The series dates back to 2001.

The regional figures indicate that sales out West fell a modest 1.3% after the 8.3% surge during April. Elsewhere in the country, sales continued weak. Sales in the Northeast fell 2.9% after a 1.9% fall in April. Sales in the Midwest retraced about half of the April gain with a 6.0% decline. Sales in the South reversed all of their upwardly revised April rise with a 7.1% decline.

The Realtors association indicated in an earlier report that the number of homes on the market & available for sale slipped a not seasonally adjusted 1.4% (+2.4% y/y) after a 10.5% jump during April.

At the current sales rate there was a 10.8 months' supply of homes on the market versus an 8.9 months' average during all of last year, a 6.5 months' supply in 2006 and a 4.5 months' supply in 2005.

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.

Pending Home Sales (2001=100)  May April Y/Y 2007 2006  2005
Total 84.7  88.9    -14.0% 95.7 112.1  124.3
  Northeast 77.0 79.3 -16.5 85.6 98.5 108.3
  Midwest 78.6 83.6 -13.8 89.6 102.0 116.4
  South 84.5 91.0 -22.1 107.3 127.3 134.8
  West 97.5 98.8 2.0 92.1 109.5 128.6
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