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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Declined in June
by Sandy Batten  July 29, 2021

• June fall concentrated in South and West regions.

• Purchases restrained by limited supply and rapidly rising prices.

Pending home sales fell 1.9% m/m (-1.9% y/y) in June after an upwardly revised 8.3% m/m gain in May (originally 8.0% m/m). Sales continue to be restrained by soaring prices and a near-record low supply of homes for sale.

The June decline was concentrated in the South and West regions. Sales in the South fell 3.0% m/m (-4.7% y/y) and sales in the West slumped 3.8% m/m (-2.6% y/y). By contrast, sales in the Northeast edged up 0.5% m/m (+8.7% y/y) and sales in the Midwest rose 0.6% m/m (-2.4% y/y), their third consecutive monthly increase.

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, which is likely a couple of months after the sales contract has been signed. 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 are available in Haver's PREALTOR database. Weekly 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 % 2020 2019 2018
Total -1.9 8.3 -4.4 -1.9 6.9 1.0 -4.1
   Northeast 0.5 14.9 -12.9 8.7 2.5 0.7 -5.2
   Midwest 0.6 6.7 3.3 -2.4 7.7 -0.3 -4.6
   South -3.0 5.7 -5.9 -4.7 8.5 1.8 -1.8
   West -3.8 10.9 -2.6 -2.6 5.9 1.1 -7.3
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