U.S. Pending Home Sales Rise Modestly in July
- Two consecutive gains follow three monthly declines.
- Changes are mixed amongst regions.
The Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) rose 0.9% (-14.0% y/y) to 77.6 during July following a minimally revised 0.4% June rise. The index stood 39.4% below its August 2020 high of 128.0.
The rise in sales occurred as the average rate on a 30-year mortgage rose to 6.84% last month from 6.71% in June. That was up from a low of 2.68% averaged in December 2020. The rate jumped to 7.23% last week.
In the West, pending home sales strengthened 6.2% (-12.8% y/y) last month after a 1.0% June decline. Pending home sales in the South rose 2.0% (-10.9% y/y) in July after falling 1.3% in June. Offsetting these gains, pending home sales in the Northeast weakened 5.8% last month (-20.2% y/y) after rising 0.6% in June. Pending home sales in the Midwest fell 0.4% in July (-16.0% y/y) after rising 4.6% in June.
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.
Tom MoellerAuthorMore in Author Profile »
Prior to joining Haver Analytics in 2000, Mr. Moeller worked as the Economist at Chancellor Capital Management from 1985 to 1999. There, he developed comprehensive economic forecasts and interpreted economic data for equity and fixed income portfolio managers. Also at Chancellor, Mr. Moeller worked as an equity analyst and was responsible for researching and rating companies in the economically sensitive automobile and housing industries for investment in Chancellor’s equity portfolio. Prior to joining Chancellor, Mr. Moeller was an Economist at Citibank from 1979 to 1984. He also analyzed pricing behavior in the metals industry for the Council on Wage and Price Stability in Washington, D.C. In 1999, Mr. Moeller received the award for most accurate forecast from the Forecasters' Club of New York. From 1990 to 1992 he was President of the New York Association for Business Economists. Mr. Moeller earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, where he graduated in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from George Washington University.