March 2009 Market Pulse

A look at the latest existing-home sales and pending home sales data from NAR.

March 1, 2009

Sales Spark Up

Both existing-home sales and NAR’s forward-looking Pending Home Sales Index showed marked gains. EHS rose to 4.74 million units, up 6.5 percent from 4.45 million in November. Pending sales rose 6.3 percent, to a reading of 87.7 from 82.5 in November.

"Buyers appear to be responding to the drops in home prices and mortgage interest rates," says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

  • December 2008 Existing-Home Sales: 4.74 Million  (Seasonally adjusted annual rate, which is the actual rate of sales for the month, multiplied by 12 and adjusted for seasonal sales differences.)
  • December 2008 Pending Home Sales Index: 87.7  (The Pending Home Sales Index measures housing contract activity. An index of 100 is equal to the level of activity during 2001, the benchmark year.)

Market Optimism Gains

Practitioners’ expectations for sales activity over the next six months saw a rebound in January as low home prices helped drive up sales, particularly in the West. Expectations for buyer traffic and overall market activity increased, even as confidence remains low that more sellers will emerge.

Results are based on 2,616 responses to 3,000 surveys sent to large and small real estate offices. The survey asks practitioners to indicate whether conditions are strong (100 points), moderate (50), or weak (0). Responses are averaged to derive results.

In 2012 NAR rebenchmarked its existing-home sales data going back to 2007, so reports published between 2007 and 2011 no longer contain up-to-date figures. Find the latest existing-home sales data at You’ll find more recent editions of Market Pulse here.

Lawrence Yun
Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®

Yun oversees and is responsible for a wide range of research activity for the association including NAR’s Existing Home Sales statistics, Affordability Index, and Home Buyers and Sellers Profile Report. He regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1.3 million REALTOR® members.

Dr. Yun creates NAR’s forecasts and participates in many economic forecasting panels, among them the Blue Chip Council and the Wall Street Journal Forecasting Survey. He also participates in the Industrial Economists Discussion Group at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. He appears regularly on financial news outlets, is a frequent speaker at real estate conferences throughout the United States, and has testified before Congress. Dr. Yun has appeared as a guest on CSPAN’s Washington Journal and is a regular guest columnist on the Forbes website and The Hill, an “inside the beltway” publication on public affairs.

Dr. Yun received his undergraduate degree from Purdue University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland at College Park.