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Pending Home Sales Fall 2.5% and Continuing Downward Slide Team Thayer #realestate #market #housingnews #oregon
The number of contracts signed to buy previously owned homes declined at the beginning of the year, as a turbulent stock market, a short supply of homes for sale, and January’s blizzard all held back buyers, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.
NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, which tracks contract signings (as opposed to closed sales) for previously owned homes, fell 2.5% in January to a level of 106, down from an upwardly revised 108.7 in December. (An index of 100 represents an average level of contract activity.) Last month’s pending sales level was just 1.4% above January 2015, when the index stood at 104.5. Though January marked the 17th straight month of year-over-year gains, its annual gain was the second smallest in the last 12 months.
“While January’s blizzard possibly caused some of the pullback in the Northeast, the recent acceleration in home prices and minimal inventory throughout the country appears to be the primary obstacle holding back would-be buyers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Additionally, some buyers could be waiting for a hike in listings come springtime.”
January’s dip comes after a rise of less than 1% in December and continues a downward trend in pending home sales, considered a more timely gauge of the housing market than other reports. Pending sales have consistently declined month-to-month since peaking at a more than nine-year high last May, interrupted only by tiny small upticks in October (0.7%) and December (0.9%). While the monthly figures continue to fall, on a year-over-year basis all months in 2015 clocked annual increases in signed contracts, though the pace of the increase slowed as last year progressed.
January’s pending sales also fell far short of the range anticipated by economists surveyed by Bloombergahead of the release, who expected numbers to rise as much as 1.5%.