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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Decline Sharply
by Tom Moeller March 4, 2010

Bad weather had a noticeable effect on January housing activity. However, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported an outsized effect on pending home sales which fell 7.6% m/m from December to their lowest level since March of last year. Nevertheless, home sales remained up 12.3% from the January low. The latest decline compares with Consensus expectations for a modest increase. The data were revised starting in 2008.

Sharp monthly gains in home sales were recorded across the country but the largest was out West.

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.

The Fed's latest Beige Book covering regional economic conditions can be found  here

Pending Home Sales (2001=100)  January December November Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Total 90.4 97.8 97.0   12.3% 95.1 86.9 95.9
  Northeast 71.3 78.1 77.4 20.4 76.7 73.0 86.1
  Midwest 81.2 89.2 84.8 11.8 88.8 80.7 89.6
  South 98.1 100.2 98.5 18.1 98.9 90.3 107.4
  West 102.9 118.5 122.8 1.5 109.9 99.2 92.1
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