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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Recover
by Tom Moeller  August 28, 2014

Pending sales of single-family homes jumped 3.3% (-2.1% y/y) during July, according the National Association of Realtors (NAR), following a little-revised 1.3% June decline. The increase was to the highest level since last August.

Home sales were strong through most of the country last month. In the Northeast, sales jumped 6.2% (8.3% y/y) while in the South they gained 4.2% (-1.0% y/y). In the West, home buying improved 4.0% but remained off 6.0% y/y. In the Midwest, sales slipped 0.4% (-6.4% 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 (%, SA) Jul Jun May Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 3.3 -1.3 6.0 -2.1 4.5 11.3 1.3
Northeast 6.2 -2.7 8.8 8.3 6.1 16.6 -4.0
Midwest -0.4 -0.4 6.3 -6.4 10.4 17.7 2.2
South 4.2 -2.1 4.0 -1.0 5.4 12.7 1.4
West 4.0 0.2 7.7 -6.0 -3.6 1.2 3.4
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