Archive

Archive for the ‘Pending Home Sales’ Category

Pending Home Sales Drop For Second Straight Month

Pending Home Sales July 2009 - January 2011After a strong run to close out 2010, the market for home resales softened a bit in January.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the Pending Home Sales Index dropped 3 percent last month, and December’s figures were revised downward for a loss, too, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

A “pending home sale” is defined as a home under contract to sell, but not yet closed. 

The forward-looking index is now at a 3-month low on a national level, but still well ahead of its rolling 6-month average.

Unfortunately, national data isn’t overly helpful for buyers and sellers of real estate. The National Association of REALTORS® knows this, of course, and makes an effort to get more granular, supplementing the Pending Home Sales Index report with a region-by-region breakdown

Between December and January, only the South Region increased in sales volume. The Midwest led the losers:

  • Northeast Region: -2.4%
  • Midwest Region : -7.3%
  • South Region : +1.4%
  • West Region : -5.2%

Even still, however, regional data remains too broad to be practical. The South Region, for example, is comprised of multiple states with thousands of cities and town. The housing market dynamics of a specific neighborhood in a specific regional city will differ from that of another neighborhood in another regional city.

Real estate data must be local to be relevant.

Overall, then, what may be most telling from January’s Pending Home Sales Index is how weather can influence results.

Most of the country faced drastic weather conditions in January, ranging from raging snowstorms to bitter cold. Events like that tend to put a damper on home sales, a contributing factor in why the number of new contracts fell.

Another reason is rising mortgage rates. Conforming and FHA rates rose week-by-week in January, robbing home buyers of 10% of their purchasing power. This, too, can slow down purchase activity as buyers adjust their expectations.

Looking forward, we should expect the Pending Home Sales Index to resume rising. Inclement weather doesn’t kill demand; it just delays it. And mortgage rates have settled somewhat. These two factors should help release pent-up demand just as the Spring Homebuying Season gets underway.

As more buyers enter the market, negotiation leverage will shift to home sellers, pressuring home prices higher. The lowest prices of the year — and the cheapest financing — could be what you see today.

Categories: Pending Home Sales Tags:

Pending Home Sales At The Highest Levels Since April 2010

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Pending Home Sales June 2009 Dec 2010Another day, another strong report for housing.

The Pending Home Sales Index climbed 2 percent in December, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. A “pending home sale” is an existing home under contract to sell, but not yet closed.

Pending Home Sales are up for the fifth time in 6 months. The December reading is now its highest since the federal home buyer tax credit’s April 2010 contract deadline, and the figure is well north of the Pending Home Sales Index 3-year average.

Coupling this data with December’s strong Existing Homes Sales report (+12%) and its strong New Home Sales report (+17%), it’s clear that the housing market has past its trough and is in Recovery Mode.

Even consumer confidence is at an 8-month high.

On a regional basis, December’s Pending Home Sales Index varied as compared against November. The South region led the way, and the West region lagged.

  • Northeast Region: +1.8%
  • Midwest Region : +8.0%
  • South Region : +11.5%
  • West Region : -13.2%

Home buyers would do well to study last month’s Pending Home Sales Index. It offers clues of what to expect during the spring buying season. For example, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, 80 percent of homes under contract close within 60 days.

Therefore, we can look at the December Pending Home Sales Index and project, with a high level of confidence, that home sales will be higher throughout February and March on a units-basis.

Furthermore, because the Existing Home Sales and New Home Sales reports show that housing stock is falling nationwide, spring buyers will notice find more competition for the available housing stock. As the Supply-and-Demand curve shifts towards sellers, home prices rise.

In other words, there’s no rush to buy a home, but as the year progresses, home prices are expected to rise, as are mortgage rates. This one-two combination will impact home affordability negatively. And the higher that mortgage rates go, the worse the damage.

Your home-buying dollar won’t go as far in 2011’s second half as it will go right now. If you have plans to buy a home in 2011, consider moving up your time-frame.

%d bloggers like this: