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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Increase Again
by Tom Moeller  March 30, 2015

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of single-family homes improved another 3.1% during February following a 1.2% January rise, last month reported as a 1.7% increase. These sales are reported as an index with 2001=100. The February value was 106.9, down 15.8% from the peak of 127.0 in April 2005. It nevertheless remained up by 38.7% from the 2010 low of 77.1 in June 2010.

Home sales in the Midwest increased 11.6% (13.8% y/y) to the highest level since June 2013. Home sales in the West gained 6.6% (11.4% y/y). In the South, sales fell 1.4% (+10.8% y/y) while in the Northeast, home sales declined 2.3% (+4.1% 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) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total 3.1 1.2 -1.5 12.1 -3.3 4.5 11.3
Northeast -2.3 -1.4 -3.6 4.1 -0.4 6.1 16.6
Midwest 11.6 -1.1 -0.8 13.8 -5.7 10.4 17.7
South -1.4 3.2 -1.0 10.8 -1.5 5.4 12.7
West 6.6 1.6 -1.9 18.3 -5.9 -3.6 1.2
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