U.S. Pending Home Sales Drop
The U.S. pending home sales index dropped for the fifth consecutive month in October, reaching its lowest since last December, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The index - reflecting contracts and not closed sales -- dropped 0.6 percent to 102.1 in October, from an upwardly revised 102.7 last month
. It is 1.6 percent lower than last year.
NAR expected the drop in market activity for October.
"The government shutdown in the first half of last month sidelined some potential buyers," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. "We could rebound a bit from this level, but still face the headwinds of limited inventory and falling affordability conditions."
The index grew modestly in the Northeast and Midwest, while dropping in the South and West.
Last week NAR reported a 3.2 percent monthly drop in existing home sales
for October. However, the figure was 6.0 percent higher than last year.
Annual existing-existing home sales are expected to be almost 10 percent higher in 2013 compared to last year, NAR reports.
The national median existing-home price has endured double-digit yearly increases for 11 consecutive months and is projected to be 11 percent higher in 2013 than last year.
However, there are concerns for the housing market heading into 2014.
"New mortgage rules in January could delay the approval process, and another government shutdown would harm both housing and the economy," Mr. Yun said.