Pending Home Sales Barely Budge in Near-Term Slowdown

Pending home sales barely budged in September, but activity is still well above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The group’s Pending Home Sales Index, an indicator based on contract signings, edged up 0.3 percent to 99.5 in September from 99.2 in August.
It is 14.5 percent above September 2011 when it was 86.9. The data reflect contracts but not closings.
Pending home sales have increased for 17 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis, indicating a sustained – if not robust – recovery.
“Home contract activity remains at an elevated level in contrast with recent years, but currently appears to be bouncing around in a narrow range,” said Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist. “This means only minor movement is likely in near-term existing-home sales, but with positive underlying market fundamentals they should continue on an uptrend in 2013.”
Pending home sales in the Northeast rose 1.4 percent to 79.3 in September and is 26.1 percent higher than a year ago.
In the Midwest, the index fell 5.8 percent to 89.5 in September, but is 19.3 percent above September 2011.
In the South, the index increased 1.0 percent to 111.5 in September and are 17.6 percent higher than a year ago.
In the West, the index rose 4.3 percent in September to 106.9, but is only 0.8 percent above September 2011.

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