April 2009 Market Pulse

Debate over the massive stimulus package might be part of the reason for the dip, as households waited to see the outcome.

September 1, 2009


Existing-home Sales
4.49 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
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

Buyers Wait and See

Existing-home sales dropped 5.3 percent in January, dashing hopes from a month earlier that sales might be turning around. Debate over the massive stimulus package might be part of the reason for the dip, as households waited to see the outcome. Meanwhile, NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index*, based on contracts signed in January, fell 7.7 percent to its lowest level since tracking began in 2001.

*Numbers are adjusted from figures published in March.

Glimmers of Hope

Practitioners’ expectations for sales activity over the next six months, gathered after the federal government passed its economic stimulus package, showed an uptick across all indicators. Buyer traffic is expected to grow significantly with the start of the spring selling season.

Results are based on 2,533 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 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.