Pending Home Sales Tumble 8.7%

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REUTERS/Richard Clement

Pending home sales fell a whopping 8.7% month-over-month in December.

This missed expectations for a modest 0.3% decline.

Meanwhile, they were down 6.1% on the year, worse than expectations for a 0.3% fall.

November's numbers were also revised down to show a 0.3% MoM fall, and a 4.4% YoY fall.

This compares with an initial estimate of a 0.2% MoM rise, and a 4% YoY fall.

“Unusually disruptive weather across large stretches of the country in December forced people indoors and prevented some buyers from looking at homes or making offers,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said in a press release. 

"Home prices rising faster than income is also giving pause to some potential buyers, while at the same time a lack of inventory means insufficient choice. Although it could take several months for us to get a clearer read on market momentum, job growth and pent-up demand are positive factors.”

Here's a look at the regional breakdown:

  • In the Northeast, the pending home sales index (PHSI) fell 10.3% on the month, and was down 5.5% from a year ago.
  • In the Midwest, the index fell 6.8% on the month and was down 6.9% from a year ago.
  • In the South, the index fell 8.8% on the month, and was down 6.9% from a year ago.
  • In the West, it was down 9.8% on the month, and down 16% from a year ago.

The index is considered to be a leading indicator for future existing home sales. The Commerce Department expects that 80% of signings will become existing home sales transactions within two months.

Here's a look at the trajectory of pending home sales:

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pending home sales chart

The National Association of Realtors



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