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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Improve
by Tom Moeller  August 31, 2016

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales increased 1.3% during July following a 0.8% June decline, revised from +0.2%. These sales are reported as an index with 2001=100. The July value of 111.3 was 3.2% below the April peak, but 44.4% higher than the June 2010 low.

Sales were mixed last month throughout the country. They jumped 7.3% in the West to the highest level since June 2013. Sales increased 0.8% in the Northeast, but have moved erratically sideways this year. In the South, sales also rose 0.8%, but were 5.1% below the April high. To the down-side by 2.9% were sales in the Midwest. They have fallen 6.9% below a March peak.

The pending home sales figures are analogous to the new home sales data from the Census Bureau. 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) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total 1.3 -0.8 -3.7 1.4 7.5 -3.3 4.6
Northeast 0.8 3.2 -5.3 1.1 8.0 -0.4 6.2
Midwest -2.9 0.9 -4.2 -1.1 6.8 -5.7 10.5
South 0.8 -2.9 -3.1 0.4 6.5 -1.4 5.5
West 7.3 -1.3 -3.4 6.2 10.0 -5.9 -3.8
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