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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Rebound
by Tom Moeller  November 29, 2017

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales increased 3.5% (-0.6% y/y) during October to an index level of 109.3 (2001=100). This followed a revised 0.4% September decline, initially reported as no change. Sales remained 3.6% below the peak during April 2016.

Changes in pending home sales were generally positive across regions of the country. In the South, the index increased 7.4% (2.0% y/y) following declines in five of the previous six months. The index for the Midwest gained 2.8% (-0.9% y/y), but remained down 5.8% from its March 2016 peak. The index for the Northeast ticked 0.5% higher (-1.9% y/y) after a 1.2% increase. The index for the West eased 0.7% (-4.4% y/y) but remained up sharply versus early this year.

The pending home sales index measures home sales when the sales contract is signed, analogous to the new home sales report. In contrast, existing home sales are recorded when the sale is closed. In developing the pending home sales index, the NAR found 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, 2001=100) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 109.3 105.6 106.0 -0.6 109.8 108.8 101.2
Northeast 95.0 94.5 93.4 -1.9 96.3 90.7 83.9
Midwest 105.8 102.9 101.5 -0.9 107.3 107.1 100.3
South 123.6 115.1 118.6 2.0 122.8 123.0 115.5
West 101.6 102.3 100.8 -4.4 102.5 102.4 93.1
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