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Slight pending home sales dip 'not a significant concern'

Pending home sales saw a slight February decrease — a 1 percent drop that National Association of Realtors (NAR) economist Lawrence Yun called “not a significant concern.”

The NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, which tracks sales based on contract signings, fell to 101.9 in February from an index reading of 102.9 in January. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, the first year examined.

Year-over-year contract signings dropped 4.9 percent, marking the 14th consecutive month of annual decline.

Yun chalked the slight dip to regression after the solid gain in January, which saw pending contracts rise close to 5 percent.

“As a whole, these numbers indicate that a cyclical low in sales is in the past but activity is not matching the frenzied pace of last spring,” he said.

On the whole, Yun expects existing-home sales this year to fall 0.7 percent to 5.3 million, with the national median existing-home sale price to grow some 2.7 percent. In 2020, he projects both existing sales and home prices to grow around 3 percent.

Of note, Yun pointed out, is the West region’s tepid sales activity, where sales remain well below 2018 numbers. The West index is down 9.6 percent from last year.

“There is a lack of inventory in the West and prices have risen too fast,” he said. “Job creation in the West is solid, but there is still a desperate need for more home construction.”

The rest of the country, in contrast, is also down on a yearly basis, though not as significantly. The Northeast is 2.6 percent below one year ago, the South 2.9 percent and the Midwest 6.1 percent.



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