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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Ease
by Tom Moeller  July 29, 2015

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of single-family homes declined 1.8% during June (+11.1% y/y) following a little revised 0.6% May rise. Expectations were for a 0.9% increase according to Bloomberg. During all of last quarter, sales rose 4.5% after a 3.1% Q1 gain. These sales are reported as an index with 2001=100. The June value was 110.3, up 43.1% from the 2010 low.

Declines of 3.0% were logged both in the Midwest (+8.6% y/y) and in the South (+10.3% y/y). In the West, sales inched up 0.5% (11.7% y/y) while sales in the Northeast improved 0.4% (16.0% 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.

How Sensitive Is Housing Demand to Down Payment Requirements and Mortgage Rates? from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is available here.

Pending Home Sales (%, SA) Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total -1.8 0.6 2.7 11.1 -4.4 5.0 11.8
Northeast 0.4 6.3 10.1 16.0 - 1.4 7.0 17.6
Midwest -3.0 -0.6 4.2 8.6 -6.3 11.3 18.6
South -3.0 -1.2 1.8 10.3 -2.0 6.0 12.9
West 0.5 1.6 -1.4 11.7 -8.7 -3.8 1.5
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