Pending home sales stall again in September

Pending home sales stall again in September

Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) was at 106.0 in September, unchanged from a downwardly revised August figure and 3.5 percent lower than one year earlier. And as we noted last month, the National Association of Realtors is now forecasting that total existing home sales in the USA will be lower this year than the year before. Realtors expect Florida sales will rebound in the same way next month.

Sales of newly built homes, which are recorded by the U.S. Census as signed contracts during the month, not closings, jumped a striking 19 percent month-to-month. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, blamed Hurricane Irma's impact on Florida as having a negative impact on the South's market data. In the South, sales fell 2.3% to an index score of 115.9, which is 5% below last year's index.

NAR released a separate report last Friday showing an unexpected rebound in existing home sales in the month of September. First-time buyers in September accounted for 29% of sales, the lowest share in two years, the Realtors said.

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By region, September pending home sales increased by 1.2% to an index score of 94.5 in the Northeast, and down 2.4% compared with September 2016.

Economists had expected new home sales to drop to a rate of 555,000 from the 560,000 originally reported for the previous month.

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