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Pending home sales in December declined 3.5%, reversing a 7.3% surge in November.
Economists polled by Bloomberg had expected a decline of only 1.0%.
“Contract failures remain an issue, reported by one-third of Realtors over the past few months, but home buyers are not giving up,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.
The index measuring pending home sales dropped to 96.6 in December, from 100.1 in November, and remains above year-ago levels, when it stood at 91.5. The data is a forward looking indicator for sales, and does not reflect the number of closings.
However, new data out of the Federal Housing Finance Agency shows housing prices increased 1.0%, against forecasts for a flat reading and above the 0.7% decline seen in October.
Prices increased in all regions sequentially, except for the Middle Atlantic which includes New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. However, prices have yet to rebound from year-ago levels, and remain, on average, 1.8% below where they were in November 2010.
The National Association of Realtors is about to announce pending home sales for December.
The key metric is expected to contract by 1.0%, against a 7.3% gain in November.
That number follows December results of existing home sales, which perked up 5.0% in the month. However, that missed expectations by 20 basis points.
At the same time, the Federal Housing Finance Agency will release the November house price index, with expectations for the index to remain flat for November, after declining 0.2% in October.