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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Improve
by Tom Moeller   October 4, 2010

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of existing single-family homes improved during August. The 4.3% m/m rise repeated the gain during July and brought home sales to the highest level since April. Thereafter sales fell sharply with the removal of the government's $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers. The latest increase was slightly stronger than Consensus expectations for a 3.0% rise.

Throughout most of the country, sales increased. The largest m/m gain occurred in the Southern and Western regions of the country where sales rose roughly 6.0% m/m. A smaller increase was logged in the Midwest but sales in the Northeast fell 2.9% and remained near the cycle low.

Pending 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.

Pending Home Sales (2001=100)  August July June Y/Y % 2009 2008 2007
Total 82.3 78.9 75.5 -20.1 95.1 86.9 95.9
 Northeast 60.6 62.4 58.8 -28.8 76.7 73.0 86.1
 Midwest 68.0 66.6 64.1 -26.6 88.8 80.7 89.6
 South 90.8 85.1 85.3 -13.1 98.9 90.3 107.4
 West 101.1 95.0 85.1 -19.6 109.9 99.2 92.1
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