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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Fall Unexpectedly
by Tom Moeller   November 05, 2010

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that September pending sales of existing single-family homes fell 1.8% m/m. The decline reversed much of an August gain and was well short of a Consensus expectations for a 3.0% increase. Nevertheless, sales remained near the highest level since they fell sharply with the removal of the government's $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers.

Sales in most regions of the country sales fell m/m and remained down by roughly one-quarter from the year-ago level. The exception last month was a 3.5% rise in sales in the West which added to gains during the prior two months. However, sales were down 24.7% y/y.

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)  Sept. Aug. July Y/Y % 2009 2008 2007
Total 80.9 82.4 78.9 -25.0 95.1 86.9 95.9
  Northeast 59.6 60.6 62.4 -28.3 76.7 73.0 86.1
  Midwest 64.2 68.1 66.6 -33.0 88.8 80.7 89.6
  South 87.6 90.8 85.1 -19.1 98.9 90.3 107.4
  West 104.6 101.1 95.0 -24.7 109.9 99.2 92.1
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