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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Strengthen in June
by Tom Moeller  July 29, 2020

• Pending home sales are at the highest level since February 2006.

• Improvement continues throughout the country.

The recovery in home sales is continuing as mortgage rates decline and the job market improves. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales in June increased 16.6% (6.3% y/y) to the highest level since February 2006. Sales have risen by roughly two-thirds from their April low.

Pending home sales continued to rise across the country led by a 54.4% jump in the Northeast (-0.9% y/y) to the highest level since February. In the Midwest, sales strengthened 12.2% (5.1% y/y) to the highest level since February 2017. Sales improved 11.9% (10.3% y/y) in the South to a record high and they gained 11.7% (4.7% y/y) in the West to a seven-month high.

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 anticipates 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. Mortgage interest rates from the Mortgage Bankers Association can be found in the SURVEYW database.

Pending Home Sales (SA, % chg) Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Total 16.6 44.3 -21.8 6.3 1.1 -4.1 -0.8
   Northeast 54.4 45.1 -48.2 -0.9 0.8 -5.0 0.6
   Midwest 12.2 37.2 -15.9 5.1 -0.3 -4.6 -2.5
   South 11.9 43.2 -15.4 10.3 1.8 -1.9 0.6
   West 11.7 56.2 -20.0 4.7 1.3 -7.3 -2.5
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