Pending Home Sales Dropped 4.9% In January

Overview of Pending Home Sales

A recent report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) shows that pending home sales fell by 4.9% in January on a month-over-month basis. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a key metric used to gauge contract signings and predict future home sales, decreased to 74.3. This represents an 8.8% year-over-year decrease when compared to January of 2023.

Expert Insights

Chief Economist Lawrence Yun of the NAR provided expert analysis on the current market conditions. He noted the solid job market and record-high total wealth due to stock market and home price gains. Despite these favorable economic conditions for homebuying, Yun highlighted consumers' heightened sensitivity to changes in mortgage rates, which have impacted home sales.

Yun emphasized that regions experiencing faster job growth, such as Southern states and those in the Rocky Mountain time zone, are witnessing increased long-term housing demand. However, the pace and volume of home purchases in these areas will largely depend on prevailing mortgage rates and inventory availability.

Regional Breakdown of Pending Home Sales

The report also provides a regional breakdown of pending home sales, revealing varying trends across different parts of the country:

  • Northeast: While the Northeast saw a modest 0.8% increase in the PHSI from the previous month, there was still a year-over-year decline of 5.5%.

  • Midwest: In contrast, the Midwest experienced a notable 7.6% decrease in the PHSI, with a significant 11.6% drop compared to January of the previous year.

  • South: The Southern region recorded a substantial 7.3% decline in the PHSI, falling 9.0% from the prior year.

  • West: The West saw a slight uptick of 0.5% in the PHSI, yet it still reflected a 7.0% decrease from January 2023.

Understanding the Pending Home Sales Index

The Pending Home Sales Index serves as a leading indicator for the housing sector, offering insights into upcoming sales closings based on pending contracts. This index provides a forward-looking indicator of the housing market's health, with a base level of 100 set in 2001. It's important to note that while pending contracts indicate imminent sales, the timeline between contract signing and closing can vary due to factors such as mortgage financing challenges, home inspection issues, or appraisal discrepancies.


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