Pending home sales edged down with near-term sales expected to be notably with the expiration of the home buyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator, declined 2.6 percent to 75.7 based on contracts signed in June from an upwardly revised level of 77.7 in May, and is 18.6 percent below June 2009 when it was 93.0. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said lower home sales are expected in the short term. “There could be a couple of additional months of slow home-sales activity before picking up later in the year, provided the job market continues to improve,” he said. “Over the short term, inventory will look high relative to home sales. However, since home prices have come down to fundamentally justifiable levels, there isn’t likely to be any meaningful change to national home values. Some local markets continue to show strengthening prices.”
The PHSI in the Northeast dropped 12.2 percent to 58.8 in June and is 25.4 percent lower than June 2009. In the Midwest the index fell 9.5 percent to 64.1 and is 27.8 percent lower than a year ago. Pending home sales in the South rose 3.7 percent to an index of 85.8, but are 13.3 percent below June 2009. In the West the index slipped 0.2 percent to 85.1 but is 14.2 percent below a year ago.
NOTE: References to local markets are from unpublished data. For more information, please contact the local association of Realtors®.
The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months. There is a closer relationship between annual index changes (from the same month a year earlier) and year-ago changes in sales performance than with month-to-month comparisons.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined as well as the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales.
Existing-home sales for July will be reported August 24 and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be on September 2; release times are 10 a.m. EDT.