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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Remain Firm And Rise To The Highest Level In Two Years
by Tom Moeller September 1, 2009

There's been no letup in the recovery in housing demand. The National Association of Realtors reported that during July pending, improved home affordability boosted sales of existing homes by 3.2% from June to their highest level since June of 2007. The gain followed a similar rise in June sales and doubled Consensus expectations for a 1.6% increase.

The gain in July home sales was led by a 12.1% m/m rise in sales in the West. That rise  was a multiple of the increases during the last several months and it lifted sales to the highest level since September of last year. The latest also was near the highest since early-2006. Sales in the South also rose a firm 3.1% to the highest level since mid-2007. Sales in the Midwest went the other way and fell 2.0%. They have been roughly flat since January. Finally, sales in the Northeast dropped 3.0% from June and were roughly unchanged since April.

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

Pending Home Sales (2001=100)  July June Y/Y 2008 2007 2006 
Total 97.6 94.6    12.1% 86.8 95.8 112.1 
  Northeast 78.8 81.2 4.6 72.6 85.6 98.5
  Midwest 88.1 89.9 8.1 80.6 89.5 102.0
  South 103.8 100.7 12.1 89.8 107.3 127.3
  West 112.5 100.4 19.9 99.3 92.1 109.5
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