Recent Updates

  • US: BEA Auto Sales, Employment Situation (Nov)
  • US: Household Survey Detail (Nov)
  • Canada: Labor Force Survey (Nov)
  • US: Establishment Survey Detail (Nov)
  • Romania: Foreign Reserves Press (Nov)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

Inventory Constraints Impede U.S. Pending Home Sales in January
by Kathleen Stephansen  February 25, 2021

• Sales remain mixed across regions.

Pending home sales fell 2.8% (+13% y/y) in January, following an upwardly revised increase of 0.5% (+20.8% y/y) in December. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) the weakness in January reflected inventory constraints, which dissuaded prospective buyers. The weakest regions were the Northeast and the West, where pending home sales fell 7.4% (+9.6% y/y) and 7.8% (+11.5% y/y). The Midwest posted a small monthly decline of 0.9% (+8.6% y/y) and the South outpaced all regions with a small increase of 0.1% (+17.1% y/y).

The pending home sales index measures sales at the time the contract for the purchase of 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 leads the level of closed existing home sales by about 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) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Total -2.8 0.5 -0.9 13.0 6.9 1.0 -4.1
   Northeast -7.4 1.0 -1.8 9.6 2.5 0.7 -5.2
   Midwest -0.9 -2.1 -1.6 8.6 7.7 -0.3 -4.6
   South 0.1 0.6 0.9 17.1 8.5 1.8 -1.8
   West -7.8 2.5 -3.5 11.5 5.9 1.1 -7.3
large image