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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Up More in November
by Carol Stone  December 28, 2012

Pending sales of existing single-family homes, condos and co-ops gained another 1.7% (9.8% y/y) last month after a slightly revised 5.0% October rise, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The latest figure joined other measures of home sales and prices in showing renewed firmness in the housing market; it was the highest since April 2010. That 2010 month itself was boosted by a home-buyer tax credit; the NAR press release points out that apart from several months in that period when sales were supported by tax stimulus, this latest volume is the largest since February 2007.

Sales were mixed regionally, with gains in the Northeast, 5.2% m/m, and West, 4.2%, both reversing declines in those regions in October and offsetting November sluggishness in the Midwest (+0.1%) and South (unchanged). Those latter regions had strong gains in October, however.

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 date back to 2001 and the data are available in Haver's PREALTOR database.

Pending Home Sales (2001=100)
Nov Oct Sep Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total 106.4 104.6 99.6 9.8 90.3 89.2 94.7
Northeast 83.3 79.2 79.3 15.2 68.0 70.9 76.8
Midwest 103.8 103.7 90.3 15.2 81.6 79.9 88.9
South 117.2 117.2 111.2 13.9 98.3 97.0 98.4
West 110.1 105.7 106.9 -3.2 104.2 100.8 109.2
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