Friday, September 3, 2010

Home Sales

National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) reported Thursday that its Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in July, increased 5.2 percent from last month’s reading. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.

The index remains 19 percent below measurements recorded a year ago, but the month-to-month jump was an unexpected development, and some analysts are saying it may be a sign that the post-tax credit lull in home sales will soon come to an end. A group of economists surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting the pending sales index to fall by 1 percent.

The national index had fallen 29.9 percent based on contract signings in May – closely reflected in July’s 27 percent drop in actual existing-home sales. It lost another 2.8 percent after NAR’s analysis of June’s contracts, likely a good indicator of where August’s actual sales will end up. The latest 5.2 percent increase could be a telling sign of September’s sales numbers.