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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Recover Somewhat
by Tom Moeller  July 28, 2011

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of existing single-family homes rose 2.4% last month after an unrevised 8.2% May increase. Despite the recent improvement, sales for the second quarter fell 3.4% versus Q1. The m/m June improvement was sharpest in the West where sales rose 6.4%. In the South sales rose 4.4%, but sales fell 3.7% in the Midwest and 0.4% in the Northeast.

The Realtors Association earlier released figures showing that its first-time homebuyers affordability index rose during Q1 to an all-time high of 126.4. That's up by three-quarters from 2006 due to lower interest rates of 5.15% and lower monthly mortgage payments of $662. The first-time home-buyers median income was $40,169 of a home which, on-average, cost $134,800.

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.

How Much Has House Lock Affected Affected Labor Mobility and the Unemployment Rate? from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is available here.

Pending Home Sales (2001=100)  Jun May Apr Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total 90.9 88.8 82.1 19.8 89.4 94.5 87.0
  Northeast 68.9 69.2 64.5 19.4 71.6 76.6 73.5
  Midwest 79.7 82.8 74.9 26.3 80.3 88.6 81.1
  South 99.2 95.0 91.3 19.1 97.0 98.0 89.8
  West 107.0 100.6 89.1 16.4 100.8 109.3 99.4
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