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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Are Roughly Stable at 3-Year High
by Tom Moeller  March 27, 2013

Pending sales of single-family homes slipped 0.4% (+8.5% y/y) last month after a 3.8% January rise, revised from 4.5%, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The sales rebound in the aftermath of the removal in 2010 of the home buyers tax credit has raised home sales by more than one-third from the low.

The slip in sales last month reflected approximate stability across the country. Sales in the Northeast nudged down 2.5% (+6.8% y/y) following an 8.3% January increase. Sales in the Midwest ticked up 0.4% (13.1% y/y) following a 2.7% January gain while and sales in the South slipped 0.3% (+12.1% y/y) following a 5.8% January jump. Sales in the West posted a 0.1% uptick (-0.8% y/y) after a 0.7% slip during January.

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. 

Estimated Rules for Monetary Policy from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is available here.


Pending Home Sales (2001=100) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total 104.8 105.2 101.3 8.5 100.3 90.2 89.1
Northeast 82.8 84.9 78.4 6.8 79.1 67.9 70.9
Midwest 103.6 103.2 100.5 13.1 95.9 81.5 79.8
South 118.8 119.2 112.7 12.1 110.7 98.3 97.0
West 101.4 101.3 102.0 -0.8 105.0 104.1 100.7
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