U.S. pending home sales slightly increased in September
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported on Thursday that the number of American households that signed contracts to purchase homes slightly increased in September following a decline in the previous month.
NAR said its index of pending home sales, a measurement of the number of signed contracts to purchase previously-owned homes but yet to be closed, rose 0.3 per cent to 99.5 in September from 99.2 in August, marking the 17th straight month of year-on-year gain. The figure is 14.5 per cent higher than it was in September 2011 but below July’s 101.9 level.
A reading of 100 is the average level of sales when measurement began in 2001. From March 2003 to April 2007, the reading reached above 100 then tanked when the country fell into recession brought by the housing meltdown.
The report also found that closings — the final stage of a home sale — dropped in September, citing tight credit as a continuing challenge to recovery.
The pending home sales index fluctuated month-to-month for each region as it jumped 4.3 per cent in the West, increased 1.4 per cent in the Northeast, gained 1 per cent in the South and fell 5.8 per cent in the Midwest.
The NAR index is a closely followed indicator of future existing home sales since there is usually a one to two months’ lag between the signing of a contract and actual closing of the deal.