Sales Contracts Continue to Edge Up

January 2, 2015

Pending home sales inched up in November, moving above year-over-year levels for the third consecutive month, according to the National Association of REALTORS® latest Pending Home Sales Index report. The index is a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings.

All regions saw a slight gain in sales activity in November, except for the Midwest, NAR reports.

Nationwide, the index ticked up 0.8 percent to 104.8 in November, and is now 4.1 percent above November 2013 numbers. It marks the highest year-over-year gain since August 2013, when the index jumped 5.6 percent year-over-year.

“With rents now rising to a seven-year high, historically low rates and moderating price growth are likely to entice more buyers to enter the market in upcoming months,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

Also, Yun notes that falling gas prices also could give consumer confidence a boost, allowing more prospective home buyers to save additional money for a down payment to move forward on a home purchase.

Once all the data is in, existing-home sales are expected to total 4.94 million for 2014, a 3 percent decrease from last year, according to NAR. However, NAR forecasts that existing-home sales will rise to 5.30 million in 2015 as home prices are expected to moderate to a pace between 4 and 5 percent higher this year.

Regional Breakdown

Here’s how the Pending Home Sales Index performed in November across the country:

  • Northeast: rose 1.4 percent to 89.1 and is now 7 percent above year ago levels;
  • Midwest: fell 0.4 percent to 100 and is now 0.5 percent below November 2013 levels;
  • South: rose 1.3 percent to 119.7 on the index and is 5.1 percent higher than last November’s reading;
  • West: increased 0.4 percent to 98.5 and is 4.9 percent above year ago levels.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®