April 2011 Market Pulse

Existing Home Sales Rate for February: 4.9 million. This is a seasonally adjusted annual rate, which is the actual rate of sales for the month, multiplied by 12 and adjusted for seasonal sales differences.

April 1, 2011

Pending Home Sales Index For February : 90.8

This index measures ­housing contract activity. An index of 100 is equal to the level of activity during 2001, the benchmark year.

Source: NAR Research

After Gains, Home Sales Drop

Existing-home sales, hurt by continued tight lending policies by major lenders and still-unsettled appraisal problems, dropped 9.6 percent in February to 4.9 million units from 5.4 million units in January. Sales could see an improvement in the months ahead, though, with NAR’s forward-looking Pending Home Sales Index showing a modest uptick. The most notable gains were in the West.

*Revised from figure published in the previous issue.

Strong Expectations for Buyer Traffic

Practitioner confidence in housing sales continued to improve, with the outlook particularly upbeat about seller traffic, which saw a 4 percentage point increase in practitioner expectations. That most likely reflects optimism as the spring selling season solidifies. Expectations of buyer traffic also gained.

Results are based on 2,512 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.