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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Reverse Earlier Gains
by Tom Moeller  May 30, 2012

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of single-family homes during April slumped 5.5% (+14.4% y/y) to their lowest level since December. The sales index level of 95.5 was down 5.5% m/m after three months of moderate increase. Sales were down 25% versus the April 2005 peak.

Sales fell last month most notably by 12.0% (+5.1% y/y) in the West followed by a 6.8% decline (+13.3% y/y) in the South. In the Midwest sales slipped 0.3% (+23.0% y/y) but they inched up 0.9% (19.9% y/y) in the Northeast.

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) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total 95.5 101.1 97.4 14.4 90.3 89.2 94.7
Northeast 78.9 78.2 78.8 19.9 68.0 70.9 76.8
Midwest 93.0 93.3 94.1 23.0 81.6 79.9 88.9
South 105.7 113.4 107.7 13.3 98.3 97.0 98.4
West 94.9 107.8 99.4 5.1 104.2 100.8 109.2
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