The pending home sales index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell by 1.3 percent to 109.8 in April. That was much worse than the 0.5 percent gain economists had anticipated, the second monthly decline in a row, and the lowest headline reading since January.
Regionally, sales rose in the West (+5.8 percent) but fell in the Northeast (-1.7 percent), the South (-2.7 percent), and the Midwest (-4.7 percent). The recent sales weakness has occurred even as mortgage rates have retreated a bit from their post-election spike, likely due to the continued gains in home prices caused by supply issues. Moreover, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun stressed that “the rate of new listings continues to lag the quicker pace of homes coming off the market,” and added that “there is little evidence these astoundingly low supply levels are going away soon.”
Sources: Econoday, ZH, National Association of RealtorsPost author: Charles Couch