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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Post Limited Gains
by Tom Moeller  August 27, 2015

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of single-family homes rose 0.5% during July (7.2% y/y) following a little-revised 1.7% June decline. Expectations were for a 1.0% increase according to Bloomberg. These sales are reported as an index with 2001=100. The July value was 110.9, up 43.8% from the 2010 low.

Last month's sales gain was due mostly to a 4.0% rise in the Northeast (12.3% y/y). Sales in the South improved 0.6% (5.3% y/y) but in the Midwest sales were unchanged (5.4% y/y). In the West, sales declined 1.3% (+9.2% 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 PREALTORdatabase.

Pending Home Sales (%, SA) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total 0.5 -1.7 0.6 7.2 -4.4 5.0 11.8
Northeast 4.0 1.2 6.3 12.3 - 1.4 7.0 17.6
Midwest 0.0 -3.2 -0.6 5.4 -6.3 11.3 18.6
South 0.6 -3.0 -1.2 5.3 -2.0 6.0 12.9
West -1.3 0.5 1.6 9.2 -8.7 -3.8 1.5
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