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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Rise to Highest Level Since June
by Tom Moeller  June 30, 2014

Pending sales of single-family homes jumped 6.1% (-5.2% y/y) during May, according the National Association of Realtors (NAR), following a little-revised 0.5% April increase. Expectations had been for a 1.5% rise, according to Bloomberg. The latest level was the highest in eleven months.

Home sales improved across the country last month. In the Northeast, sales jumped 8.8% (0.2% y/y) to the highest level since June. In the West, sales gained 7.6% (-11.1% y/y) but remained down 17.0% during the last eleven months. In the Midwest, home buying improved 6.3% but remained off 6.6% y/y. In the South, sales rose 4.4% (-2.9% y/y) to the highest level in nine months.

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.

The Effect of Large Investors on Asset Quality: Evidence from Subprime Mortgage Securities from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta can be found here.

Pending Home Sales (%, SA) May Apr Mar Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 6.1 0.5 3.4 -5.2 4.5 11.3 1.3
Northeast 8.8 0.6 1.4 0.2 6.1 16.6 -4.0
Midwest 6.3 5.0 -0.8 -6.6 10.4 17.7 2.2
South 4.4 -0.4 5.5 -2.9 5.4 12.7 1.4
West 7.6 -2.5 5.7 -11.1 -3.6 1.2 3.4
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