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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Decline
by Tom Moeller January 5, 2010

Home sales suffered during November due to the (since-extended) expiration of an $8,000 first-time home buyers tax credit. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that November pending home sales fell 16.0% from October after nine consecutive months of firm gain. Despite the m/m decline, sales remained up 19.4% from their January low. The monthly decline exceeded Consensus expectations for a 3.1% m/m decline.

Sales in the Northeast fell a sharp 25.7% m/m following a 19.9% October increase. Sales in the Midwest also fell 25.7% but that followed a lesser 12.3% October gain. Sales in the South fell 15.0% after the 5.1% October increase while sales in the West fell 2.7% after a 10.9% October decline.

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 and the data is available in Haver's PREALTOR database.

Why Are Banks Holding So Many Excess Reserves? from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is available here .

Pending Home Sales (2001=100)  November October September Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total 96.0 114.3 110.0   15.5% 86.8 95.8 112.1 
  Northeast 74.4 100.2 83.6 14.8 73.1 85.9 98.9
  Midwest 82.0 110.3 98.2 9.2 80.6 89.5 101.9
  South 97.8 115.1 109.5 14.8 89.6 107.3 127.2
  West 124.6 128.1 143.8 21.4 99.5 92.3 109.6
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