US Pending Home Sales 'Leveling Off'

US Pending Home Sales 'Leveling Off'

Residential News » North America Residential News Edition | By Francys Vallecillo | April 29, 2013 12:12 PM ET

Pending home sales in the U.S. increased for the month of March, but there are signs that transactions are "leveling off," the National Association of Realtors reported today.  

Based on signed contracts, the Pending Home Sales Index increased 1.5 percent to 105.7 in March and is 7.0 percent higher than March 2012. But contract activity is showing "only modest movement," NAR said.

The data represents signed contracts and not closings. The pending sales index has been above year-over-year levels for the past 23 months, according to NAR.  

The leveling off is "not from a pause in demand but because of limited supply," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a release.  

"Little movement is expected in near-term sales closings, but they should edge up modestly as the year progresses," Mr. Yun said. "Job additions and rising household wealth will continue to support housing demand."  

More from the report:

  • The PHSI in the Northeast was unchanged at 82.8 in March and is 6.3 percent higher than March 2012. 
  • In the Midwest the index increased 0.3 percent to 103.8 in March and is 13.7 percent above a year ago. 
  • Pending home sales in the South rose 2.7 percent to an index of 120.0 in March and are 10.4 percent higher than March 2012. 
  • In the West the index increased 1.5 percent in March to 102.9 but is 4.3 percent below a year ago.

Overall, NAR expects existing-home sales to increase by as much as 7 percent in 2013, to five million homes. The national median existing-home price is expected to increase about 7.5 percent.

Zillow recently took a more conservative stance, forecasting a modest 3.2 percent increase in 2013.
But reports agree that demand is picking up. The latest report from NAR shows home sales up 18.5 percent in March from a year earlier.

The upbeat numbers have led some industry observers to declare the crisis is over.

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