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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Reach a New High
by Tom Moeller  April 29, 2013

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR),pending sales of single-family homes during March rose 1.5% (7.0% y/y) after a 1.0% February decline, revised from -0.4%. The latest level was the highest since April 2010. 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.

Last month's sales gain reflected mixed performance around the country. Sales in the South rose 2.7% (10.4% y/y) to a three-year high. The 1.5% rise in sales in the West, however, left them down 4.4% y/y. Sales have moved erratically sideways since early-2011. Sales in the Midwest nudged up 0.3% (13.7% y/y) to nearly the highest level of the economic expansion. In the Northeast, sales were unchanged m/m but were up a modest 6.3% versus March of last year.

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. 

The Financial Crisis at the Kitchen Table: Trends in Household Debt and Credit from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is available here.


Pending Home Sales (2001=100) Mar Feb Jan Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 105.7 104.1 105.2 7.0 100.3 90.2 89.1
Northeast 82.8 82.8 84.9 6.3 79.1 67.9 70.9
Midwest 103.8 103.5 103.2 13.7 95.9 81.5 79.8
South 120.0 116.9 119.2 10.4 110.7 98.3 97.0
West 102.9 101.4 101.3 -4.4 105.0 104.1 100.7
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