Low Inventory, Rate Uptick Slow Pending Sales

November 27, 2019

After two months of increases, pending home sales eased slightly in October, driven by a decline in inventory and small increase in mortgage rates, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Wednesday.

Pending Home Sales Chart

© National Association of REALTORS®

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, dipped by 1.7% to 106.7 in October. (An index reading of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.) Year-over-year contract signings, however, jumped 4.4%. Regionally, the Northeast reported a gain, while the other major U.S. regions saw declines in activity.

“While contract signings have decreased, the overall economic landscape remains favorable,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Mortgage rates continue to be low—below 4%, which will attract buyers. Employment levels are strong, and many recession claims have dissipated.”

Affordable markets continue to draw buyers’ attention, Yun said, including:

  • Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Pueblo, Colo.
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Rochester, N.Y.
  • Lafayette, Ind.

Here’s the breakout of pending sales regionally in October:

  • Northeast: rose 1.9%, 3% higher than a year ago.
  • Midwest: slid 2.7% but remained 1.8% higher than a year ago.
  • South: decreased 1.7% but remained 5.1% higher than a year ago.
  • West: declined 3.4% but remained 7.5% higher than a year ago.
Source: 
National Association of REALTORS®