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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Recover Somewhat
by Tom Moeller  June 29, 2011

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of existing single-family homes rose 8.2% last month after a little-revised 11.3% April decline. Despite the monthly improvement sales this quarter remained down 5.4% versus Q1. The m/m May improvement was sharpest in the West where sales rose 12.9%. In the Midwest sales rose 10.5%, and gained 7.3% in the Northeast and 4.1% in the South.

The Realtors' Association reported early this month that housing affordability slipped during April but remained up 8.5% y/y. Subsequently, it was reported that the median sales price of an existing home in May rose 3.4% (-4.6% y/y), perhaps reducing affordability again 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)  May Apr Mar Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total 88.8 82.1 92.6 13.4 89.4 94.5 87.0
  Northeast 69.2 64.5 63.4 4.4 71.6 76.6 73.5
  Midwest 82.8 74.9 82.7 17.3 80.3 88.6 81.1
  South 95.0 91.3 110.3 14.6 97.0 98.0 89.8
  West 100.6 89.1 97.8 13.5 100.8 109.3 99.4
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