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Pending home sales tumble in August

Akin Oyedele
suburbs housing development

(Wikimedia Commons)
Pending home sales fell more than expected in August, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The indicator, based on signed contracts for real estate, fell 1.4% month-on-month. Economists had expected an increase  of 0.4%.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in the release, "Pending sales have leveled off since mid–summer, with buyers being bounded by rising prices and few available and affordable properties within their budget. Even with existing–housing supply barely budging all summer and no relief coming from new construction, contract activity is still higher than earlier this year and a year ago."

Yun added that the possibility of a government shutdown, and stock market volatility could reduce demand for housing temporarily.

In a note to clients after the release, Pantheon Macroeconomics' Ian Shepherdson wrote, "Both the pending home sales index and the mortgage applications numbers now suggest that the surge in existing home sales this year is over, at least for now. We still see plenty of scope for new home sales to rise, given the strength of the NAHB homebuilder survey, but existing sales are likely now to move sideways for a time."

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