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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Rebound in November
by Carol Stone  December 31, 2014

Pending sales of single-family homes rose 0.8% in November (+4.1% y/y) following a slightly revised 1.2% decrease in October, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). These sales are reported as an index with 2001 = 100; the November value was 104.8. This compares to a peak of 107.0 in April 2005 and a recession low of 77.1 in June 2010.

Home sales in the Northeast were up 1.4% (+7.0% y/y) in November after a 0.5% increase in October. In the South, they were up 1.3% (+5.1% y/y), turning around from a 1.1% decline in October. Sales were also up in the West in November, by 0.4% (+4.9% y/y), following a 3.2% fall in October. But sales edged lower in the Midwest by 0.4% and were also down year/year, by 0.5%; the November decline was the sixth in a row.

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) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 0.8 -1.2 0.6 4.1 4.5 11.3 1.3
Northeast 1.4 0.5 1.2 7.0 6.1 16.6 -4.0
Midwest -0.4 -0.8 -1.2 -0.5 10.4 17.7 2.2
South 1.3 -1.1 2.2 5.1 5.4 12.7 1.4
West 0.4 -3.2 -0.8 4.9 -3.6 1.2 3.4
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