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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Jump
by Tom Moeller  April 26, 2012

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of single-family homes during March jumped 4.1% (12.8% y/y) following an upwardly revised 0.4% February uptick. The index level of 101.4 (2001=100) was the highest since April of 2010 when the first-time homebuyers tax credit was fueling sales.

Sales improvement centered on an 8.7% rise (9.0% y/y) in the West. It followed three months of decline. That increase was accompanied by a 5.9% gain (10.6% y/y) in the South. Sales in the Northeast slipped 0.8% (+21.1% y/y) while sales in the Midwest eased 0.9% (+16.9% 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 are available in Haver's PREALTOR database.

Pending Home Sales (2001=100) Mar Feb Jan Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total 101.4 97.4 97.0 12.8 90.3 89.2 94.7
Northeast 78.2 78.8 78.2 21.1 68.0 70.9 76.8
Midwest 93.3 94.1 88.1 16.9 81.6 79.9 88.9
South 114.1 107.7 109.1 10.6 98.3 97.0 98.4
West 108.0 99.4 101.9 9.0 104.2 100.8 109.2
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