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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Slip
by Tom Moeller  July 29, 2013

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of single-family homes during June edged 0.4% lower (+10.9% y/y) after a downwardly revised 5.8% increase during May. The latest level, nevertheless, remained nearly the highest since May 2006. The sales rebound since the removal in 2010 of the home buyers tax credit has raised home sales by 43.8% from the low.

Last month's sales decline reflected mixed performance around the country. Sales in the South fell 2.1% (+9.5% y/y) while sales in the Midwest edged 1.0% lower (+19.6% y/y). Home sales in the Northeast were unchanged (12.2% y/y) and sales in the West rose 3.3% (4.4% y/y). 

Pending home sales figures are analogous to the new home sales data from the Commerce Department. They measure existing home sales when the sales contract is signed, not at the time the sale is closed. In developing the model for the index, the NAR demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months. The series dates back to 2001 and the data are available in Haver's PREALTOR database. 

Pending Home Sales (2001=100) Jun May Apr Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 110.9 111.3 105.2 10.9 100.3 90.2 89.1
Northeast 87.2 87.2 92.3 12.2 79.1 67.9 70.9
Midwest 114.3 115.5 104.8 19.6 95.9 81.5 79.8
South 118.3 120.8 118.5 9.5 110.7 98.3 97.0
West 114.2 110.5 94.6 4.4 105.2 104.1 100.7
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