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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Increase
by Tom Moeller  March 28, 2011

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that February pending sales of existing single-family homes rose 2.1% and recouped most of the unrevised 2.8% January decline. No change in sales had been the Consensus expectation according to the Bloomberg survey. The m/m increase occurred across the country except the Northeast.

The Realtors' Association reported early this month that housing affordability rose sharply during January to a record high. Thereafter, it was reported that the median sales price of an existing home slipped another 0.9% (-4.2% y/y) in February and may have improved affordability further.

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. The home affordability figures are available in the REALTOR database.

Pending Home Sales (2001=100)  Feb Jan Dec Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total 90.8 88.9 91.5 -8.2 89.4 94.5 87.0
  Northeast 65.5 73.5 75.3 -18.3 71.6 76.6 73.5
  Midwest 81.1 78.0 84.1 -16.0 80.3 88.6 81.1
  South 100.3 97.7 96.4 -5.3 97.0 98.0 89.8
  West 105.6 98.7 104.1 0.6 100.8 109.3 99.4
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