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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Improve
by Tom Moeller  April 28, 2011

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that March pending sales of existing single-family homes rose 5.1% and added to the downwardly revised 0.7% February uptick. The m/m increase occurred across the country, again with the exception of the Northeast.

The Realtors' Association reported early this month that housing affordability rose sharply during February to a record high. Thereafter, it was reported that the median sales price of an existing home rose 2.2% (-5.9% y/y) in March, perhaps reducing affordability slightly.

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)  Mar Feb Jan Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total 94.1 89.5 88.9 -11.4 89.4 94.5 87.0
  Northeast 63.4 65.5 73.5 -18.3 71.6 76.6 73.5
  Midwest 83.5 81.1 78.0 -16.6 80.3 88.6 81.1
  South 110.2 99.9 97.7 -10.5 97.0 98.0 89.8
  West 103.7 100.6 98.7 -4.2 100.8 109.3 99.4
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