June 2009 Market Pulse

Practitioners' expectations for sales activity over the next six months continue to trend as sales dip, but the outlook is up.

June 1, 2009


Existing-home Sales: 4.57 million
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: 84.6
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

Sales Dip, But Outlook Is Up

The pace of existing-home sales slowed 3 percent in March to 4.57 million units, giving up some of the gains it had seen in February. Yet the easing could be short-lived because NAR’s forward-looking Pending Home Sales Index is up. The index gained 3.2 percent to a level of 84.6. NAR says first-time buyers make up half of those in the market, drawn by low rates and the first-time buyer tax credit.

*Numbers are adjusted from figures published in the May 2009 issue.

Buyer Traffic Drives Optimism

Practitioners’ expectations for sales activity over the next six months continue to trend up. In April, practitioners said they expected improved conditions, led by gains in buyer traffic. Confidence has been on an upward swing since December.

Results are based on 2,758 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 REALTOR.org. 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.