Pending home sales retreated in October, taking a slight step back after two prior months of increases, according to the National Association of Realtors®. The Northeast experienced a minor uptick last month, but the other three major U.S. regions reported declines in month-over-month contract activity. However, pending home sales were up nationally and up in all regions compared to a year ago.
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI),* www.nar.realtor/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 1.7% to 106.7 in October. Year-over-year contract signings jumped 4.4%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, noted the decline in inventory and a small rise in mortgage rates in October from September to, in part, explain this month’s signings drop. “While contract signings have decreased, the overall economic landscape remains favorable,” Yun said. “Mortgage rates continue to be low at below 4% – which will attract buyers – employment levels are strong and many recession claims have dissipated.”