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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Decline Sharply
by Tom Moeller  October 28, 2013

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that September pending sales of single-family homes fell 5.6% m/m, down for the fourth straight month. Sales in September were at the lowest level since December.

Sales declined across the country but the largest regional m/m drop occurred in the Northeast where they fell 9.6% (-6.5% y/y). That was followed by a 9.0% drop (-9.8% y/y) in the West. Sales in the Midwest were off 8.3% last month (+5.7% y/y) but home purchases in the South slipped just 0.4% (+1.9% y/y).

The pending home sales figures are analogous to the new home sales data from the Commerce Department. They measure 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) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 101.6 107.5 109.4 -1.2 100.3 90.2 89.1
Northeast 76.7 84.8 81.5 -6.5 79.1 67.9 70.9
Midwest 102.3 111.6 113.2 5.7 95.9 81.5 79.8
South 116.2 116.7 121.1 1.9 110.7 98.3 97.0
West 97.3 106.9 108.6 9.8 105.2 104.1 100.7
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