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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Rebound
by Tom Moeller  July 30, 2018

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending sales of existing homes increased 0.9% during June following two months of decline. Sales rose to an index level of 106.9 (2001=100) which remained down 2.5% y/y.  Sales were 5.4% below the peak in April of 2016.

The m/m improvement in the overall sales figure last month was due to a 1.4% increase in the Northeast, but sales remained down 4.1% y/y. Elsewhere in the country, sales in the South rose 1.1% (-0.3% y/y), following sharp declines in the prior two months. Pending sales in the West improved 0.7% (-5.6% y/y), after a 0.6% gain. Pending home sales in the Midwest improved 0.5% (-2.1% y/y), following a 2.9% jump.

The pending home sales index measures sales at the time the contract for an existing home is signed, analogous to the Census Bureau's new home sales data. In contrast, the National Association of Realtors' existing home sales data 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) Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 106.9 105.9 106.4 -2.5 109.0 109.8 108.8
Northeast 93.7 92.4 90.6 -4.1 97.2 96.4 90.8
Midwest 101.9 101.4 98.5 -2.1 104.8 107.4 107.1
South 124.2 122.9 127.3 -0.3 123.8 122.9 123.1
West 95.4 94.7 94.1 -5.6 99.6 102.4 102.2
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