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Economy in Brief

U.S. Pending Home Sales Fall Sharply in September
by Tom Moeller  October 28, 2022

• Sales are lowest since April 2020.

• Sales decline across the country.

The Pending Home Sales Index produced by the National Association of Realtors fell 10.2% (-31.0% y/y) to 79.5 in September following a 1.9% August decline. The September decline was the tenth decline in eleven months. Pending home sales have fallen 37.9% since the August 2020 high.

Pending home sales declined everywhere in the country last month. Sales in the Northeast fell 16.2% (-30.1% y/y) following a 3.4% August shortfall. In the West, sales declined 11.7% (-38.7% y/y) after rising 1.4% in August. Sales in the Midwest declined 8.8% (-26.7% y/y) in September after dropping 5.0% in August. Sales in the South fell 8.1% (-30.0% y/y) after a 0.8% August slip.

The pending home sales index measures sales at the time the contract for the purchase of an existing home is signed, similar 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 usually 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.

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