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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Improve Marginally
by Tom Moeller  October 27, 2014

Pending sales of single-family homes gained 0.3% last month (1.0% y/y) following an unrevised 1.0% decline during August, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales remained at nearly the highest level since August 2013.

Home sales were mixed throughout the country. In the Northeast, sales improved 1.2% (2.9% y/y) following a 3.0% decline. In the South, sales rebounded 1.4% (1.7% y/y), recovering a 1.5% August drop. Working the other way, sales in the West slipped 0.8% (+3.6% y/y) following strong gains in the prior two months. Sales in the Midwest were off 1.2% (-4.0% y/y), down for the fourth straight month.

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.

How Much Slack Is in the Labor Market? That Depends on What You Mean by Slack from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland can be found here.

Pending Home Sales (%, SA) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 0.3 -1.0 3.2 1.0 4.5 11.3 1.3
Northeast 1.2 -3.0 6.2 2.9 6.1 16.6 -4.0
Midwest -1.2 -2.1 -0.4 -4.0 10.4 17.7 2.2
South 1.4 -1.5 3.9 1.7 5.4 12.7 1.4
West -0.8 2.6 4.0 3.6 -3.6 1.2 3.4
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