Pending Home Sales Rise Less Than Expected

Pending home sales climbed 0.2% month-over-month in November. But were down 4% on the year.

This missed economists’ expectations for a 0.2% monthly rise and 4% year-over-year fall.

There were also downward revisions to October’s data, with pending home sales falling 1.2% on the month, and 2.7% on the year.

This compares with an initial reading of a 2.2% YoY fall in October, and a 0.6% month-over-month fall.

“We may have reached a cyclical low because the positive fundamentals of job creation and household formation are likely to foster a fairly stable level of contract activity in 2014,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, said in a press release.

“Although the final months of 2013 are finishing on a soft note, the year as a whole will end with the best sales total in seven years.”

Here’s a look at the regional breakdown:

  • In the Northeast, the pending home sales index (PHSI) fell 2.7% on the month, and is up 1.9% from a year ago.
  • In the Midwest, the index fell 3.1% on the month and is up 0.4% from a year ago.
  • In the South, the index climbed 2.3% on the month, and was up 1.8% from a year ago.
  • In the West, it was up 1.8% on the month but down 8.71% from a year ago.

Pending home sales have been falling for four straight months on account of tighter inventory, declining affordability, and elevated mortgage rates. 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.

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