Pending home sales were almost flat in December

Pending home sales rose 0.1% in December, less than expected.

Economists had estimated that pending home sales rose 0.9% according to Bloomberg, after a 1.1% decline (revised from -0.9%) in the prior period.

Pending sales, which measure contract signings, were held back by “the stock market’s sizeable losses” this year and the slowdown in manufacturing according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors which releases the monthly report.

Sales notably rose in the Northeast, boosted by warmer than usual weather and better inventory, according to Yun.

“Overall, while sustained job creation is spurring more activity compared to a year ago, the ability to find available homes in affordable price ranges is difficult for buyers in many job creating areas,” he said. “With homebuilding still grossly inadequate, steady price appreciation and tight supply conditions aren’t going away any time soon.”

Yun said the good news for home buyers is that the recent sell-off in markets has helped push down mortgage rates. Buyers who make a move before the spring season could get rates at or below 4%, he said.

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