Pending home sales inch up in November

by Francis Monfort03 Jan 2018
Pending home sales remained steady in November, only gaining slightly on monthly and annualized bases, according to the Pending Home Sales Index released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Based on contract signings, the index gained 0.2%, rising to 109.5 in November from 109.3 in October. With the latest increase, the index continues to be at its highest reading since the 110 level in June. The index increased 0.8% compared to November 2016.

“The housing market is closing the year on a stronger note than earlier this summer, backed by solid job creation and an economy that has kicked into a higher gear,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “However, new buyers coming into the market are finding out quickly that their options are limited and competition is robust. Realtors say many would-be buyers from earlier this year, stifled by tight supply and higher prices, are still trying to buy a home.”

For 2017, Yun expects existing-home sales to finish at around 5.54 million, which is 1.7% higher than the 5.45 million total in 2016. Additionally, the national median existing-home price is forecast to increase around 6%. In 2018, Yun expects existing sales to remain essentially unchanged with a decline of 0.4% to 5.52 million and price growth to moderate to around 2%.

“The strengthening economy, and expectation that more millennials will want to buy, serve as promising signs for solid home buying demand next year, while also putting additional pressure on inventory levels and affordability,” Yun said. “Sales do have room for growth in most areas, but nationally, overall activity could be slightly negative. Markets with high home prices and property taxes will likely feel some impact from the reduced tax benefits of owning a home.”

Related stories:
Pending home sales rebound after 3 months of decline
Pending home sales unchanged in September on continued supply constraints


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