NAR: Pending home sales recover 8.1% in August

Special to Gannett
Contract signings rose 8% in August from July after two consecutive monthly declines.

WASHINGTON — Pending home sales rebounded in August, recording significant gains after two prior months of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors. Each of the four major U.S. regions mounted month-over-month growth in contract activity. However, those same territories reported decreases in transactions year-over-year, with the Northeast being hit hardest, enduring a double-digit drop.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, increased 8.1% to 119.5 in August. Year-over-year, signings dipped 8.3%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.

“Rising inventory and moderating price conditions are bringing buyers back to the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Affordability, however, remains challenging as home price gains are roughly three times wage growth.”

Such an imbalance in the market is unsustainable over the long-term, according to Yun.

“The more moderately priced regions of the South and Midwest are experiencing stronger signing of contracts to buy, which is not surprising,” Yun said. “This can be attributed to some employees who have the flexibility to work from anywhere, as they choose to reside in more affordable places.”

Realtor.com’s Hottest Housing Markets data revealed that out of the largest 40 metros, the most improved metros over the past year, as of Sept. 27, were Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.; Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Austin-Round Rock, Texas.

August Pending Home Sales Regional Breakdown

Month-over-month, the Northeast PHSI rose 4.6% to 96.2 in August, a 15.8% drop from a year ago. In the Midwest, the index climbed 10.4% to 115.4 last month, down 5.9% from August 2020.

Pending home sales transactions in the South increased 8.6% to an index of 141.8 in August, down 6.3% from August 2020. The index in the West grew 7.2% in August to 107.0, however still down 9.2% from a year prior.

Contributed by The National Association of Realtors.