November 9, 2010
A gauge of pending sales of homes fell 1.8% in September, signaling an “uneven recovery entering 2011,” the National Association of Realtors reported. The association’s pending-home-sales index fell to 80.9 from a slightly upwardly revised 82.4 in August. Pending sales reflect contracts signed between home buyers and sellers, and closing a sale usually takes a few months.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist of National Association of Realtors, said in a statement that a foreclosure moratorium is likely to cause some disruption in the housing market, and that tight credit and low appraisals “continue to constrain the market.”
During September, pending home sales fell in three of four regions: down by 5.7% in the Midwest, by 3.5% in the South, and by 1.7% in the Northeast. The index rose 3.5% in the West. Nationally, the index is down nearly 25% compared with the prior year.
A reading of 100 equals the average level of contract activity during 2001, according to the trade group.
The Labor Department recently reported that nonfarm payrolls rose 151,000 in October, and the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 9.6%. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected net growth of 70,000 for nonfarm payrolls.