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Pending Home Sales Jump Despite Lagging Inventory

December 30, 2019 – Realtor Magazine

Pending home sales rose 1.2% in November after slipping the prior month, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report, which was released Monday. Year-over-year contract signings were up 7.4% nationally, according to the report.

November’s Pending Home Sales Index reached 108.5; an index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001. The West region of the country reported the highest monthly growth in pending home sales at 5.5%, while the Midwest jumped 1%. The Northeast and South saw only minor adjustments in month-over-month contract activity.

“Despite the insufficient level of inventory, pending home contracts still increased in November,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, noting that housing inventory has been in decline for six straight months. “Favorable conditions are expected throughout 2020 as well, but supply is not yet meeting the healthy demand.”

At NAR’s first-ever Real Estate Forecast Summit earlier this month, housing economists predicted 2% GDP growth, a 3.7% unemployment rate, and a 3.8% average mortgage rate. “Sale prices continue to rise, but I am hopeful that we will see price appreciation slow in 2020,” Yun said at the event. “Builder confidence levels are high, so we just need housing supply to match and more home construction to take place in the coming year.”

Here’s the regional breakdown of November results:

  • West: Pending home sales grew 5.5% and were up 14.0% from a year ago.
  • Midwest: Pending home sales rose 1%  and were  5% higher than a year ago.
  • Northeast: Pending home sales slid 0.1% but were 2.6% higher than a year ago. 
  • South: Pending home sales decreased 0.2%, but were 7.7%  higher than a year ago.