US pending home sales unexpectedly rose 2.5% month-over-month in December of 2022, the first rise since May, and beating market forecasts of a 0.9% drop. Sales were higher in the South (6.1%) and the West (6.4%) but fell in the Northeast (-6.5%) and Midwest (-0.3%). For perspective year-on-year, pending home sales are down 33.8%. We saw positive signs yesterday we saw new home sales increased 2.3% month-over-month in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 616,000 units (consensus 614,000) from a downwardly revised 602,000 (from 640,000) in November.
We have seen in the weekly mortgage applications reports that the pullback in mortgage rates has spurred some renewed demand among home buyers.
“This recent low point in home sales activity is likely over,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Mortgage rates are the dominant factor driving home sales, and recent declines in rates are clearly helping to stabilize the market.”
National Association of Realtors® Pending Home Sales
December 2022 Highlights
- Pending Home Sales (M/M) Jul: -1.0% (est -2.6%; prev R -8.9%)
- Pending Home Sales NSA (Y/Y): -22.5% (est -21.4%; prev R -20.1%)
Pending Home Sales by Region
- Northeast PHSI dropped 6.5% from last month to 64.7, a decrease of 32.5% from December 2021.
- Midwest index shrank 0.3% to 77.6 in December, a decline of 30.1% from one year ago.
- South PHSI rose 6.1% to 94.1 in December, dropping 34.5% from the prior year.
- West index advanced 6.4% in December to 58.6, decreasing 37.5% from December 2021.
“The new normal for mortgage rates will likely be in the 5.5% to 6.5% range,” Yun added. “Job gains will steadily become important in driving local home-sales markets. The South, in particular, is set to outperform the rest of the country, thanks primarily to better job market conditions in this part of the country compared to other regions.”
About Pending Home Sales
*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.
Pending contracts are good early indicators of upcoming sales closings. However, the amount of time between pending contracts and completed sales is not identical for all home sales. Variations in the length of the process from pending contract to closed sale can be caused by issues such as buyer difficulties with obtaining mortgage financing, home inspection problems, or appraisal issues.
The index is based on a sample that covers about 40% of multiple listing service data each month. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.
From The TradersCommunity News Desk