NAR: Pending Home Sales Decrease 2.8% in January
Pending home sales took a step backward in January as inventory constraints continue to hold back prospective buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors®. The South was the lone region with a modest gain from the month prior, while the other three major U.S. regions experienced month-over-month decreases in January. However, all four areas saw contract transactions increase from a year-over-year standpoint, including two regions reaching double-digit gains, spurring an all-time high for pending home sales in the month of January.This was well below expectations for this index. Note: Contract signings usually lead sales by about 45 to 60 days, so this would usually be for closed sales in February and March.
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, dropped 2.8% to 122.8 in January. Year-over-year, contract signings rose 13.0%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
The Northeast PHSI fell 7.4% to 101.6 in January, a 9.6% rise from a year ago. In the Midwest, the index declined 0.9% to 113.2 last month, up 8.6% from January 2020.
Pending home sales transactions in the South inched up 0.1% to an index of 151.3 in January, up 17.1% from January 2020. The index in the West dropped 7.8% in January, to 104.6, up 11.5% from a year prior.