May 2009 Market Pulse

Indexes of recent sales activity and projections for the next six months continue their upward path in March.

May 1, 2009


4.72 million
Existing-home Sales
Seasonally adjusted annual rate, which is the actual rate of sales for the month, multiplied by 12 and adjusted for seasonal sales differences.


Pending Home Sales Index
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.

Source: NAR Research

Just in Time for Spring

The pace of existing-home sales increased 5.1 percent in February to 4.72 million units, recouping almost all of the losses it had incurred the previous month. The gains look likely to hold for a while because NAR’s forward-looking Pending Home Sales Index also is up. The index showed a 2.1 percent gain in February to a level of 82.1. The upward movement gives reason to hope the industry could see a solid spring selling season.

A Boost in Confidence

Practitioners’ expectations for sales activity over the next six months, which have trending up since December, continued their upward path in March. Both buyer traffic and seller traffic are expected to grow. Confidence is at its highest level since June 2008.

Results are based on 3,327 responses to 6,000 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.