Bump in Contract Signings Points to Future Housing Gains

Bump in Contract Signings Points to Future Housing Gains
National Association of REALTORS® | October 25, 2018

Pending home sales increased slightly in September, with significant gains in the West and Midwest offsetting more modest growth in other regions, the National Association of REALTORS® reports. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking measure based on contract signings, shows signings inched up 0.5 percent nationwide to a reading of 104.6 in September. But on a year-over-year basis, contract signings have dropped 1 percent—marking the ninth consecutive month of annual decreases.

1810_Septermber-PHSNAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the housing market is stabilizing. “This shows that buyers are out there on the sidelines, waiting to jump in once more inventory becomes available and the price is right,” he says.

Lower affordability and a lack of moderately priced homes on the market are the two main factors putting a strain on sales, Yun says. Still, affordability is much more favorable when compared to the past few decades. “When compared to the year 2000—when the housing market was considered very healthy and home sales figures were roughly equivalent—the affordability conditions were much lower compared to now,” Yun says. “So even though affordability has been falling recently, the demand for housing should remain steady.”

Yun also believes the housing market will soon reflect the overall health of the economy. “The general condition of the economy is excellent, but it simply has not lifted home sales this year,” Yun says. “Home prices are still rising, so people who are purchasing are still seeing wealth gains.”

Many markets are seeing an increase in inventories, which is opening up choices for those who are looking to buy. Markets such as Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.; Columbus, Ohio; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.; San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.; and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., all saw some of the largest increase in active listings in September compared to a year ago, according to data from realtor.com®.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Mag News 102518

Nationally: Why Were Fewer Contracts Signed in August?

Nationally: Why Were Fewer Contracts Signed in August?
National Association of REALTORS® | September 27, 2018

Pending home sales continued to fall last month, marking the eighth consecutive month for annual decreases, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Thursday. The drop in contracts may be a sign of a growing number of buyers who are being priced out of the market, economists warn.

August PHS InfographicNAR’s Pending Home Sales Index—a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings—fell 1.8 percent to a reading of 104.2 in August. Contract signings are now 2.3 percent lower than a year ago.

The largest declines last month were in the West, where home prices have risen the most. “[This] clearly indicates that affordability is hindering buyers and those affordability issues come from lack of inventory, particularly in moderate price points,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

The decline in sales contracts has also coincided with fewer homes on the market. But that may soon change—a record high of Americans now say it’s a good time to sell their home, according to NAR’s third-quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey.

“Just a couple of years ago about 55 percent of consumers indicated it was a good time to sell; that figure has climbed to 77 percent today,” Yun says. “With prices having risen so quickly, many consumers were deciding to wait to list their homes hoping to see additional price and equity gains. However, with indications that buyers are beginning to pull out, price gains are going to decelerate and potential sellers are considering that now is a good time to list and bring more properties to the market.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; REALTOR® Mag News 092718

Nationally: Despite Buyer Demand, Contract Signings Fall

Nationally: Despite Buyer Demand, Contract Signings Fall
National Association of REALTORS article by Daily Real Estate News | April 30, 2018

Pending home sales picked up the pace in March, but ongoing issues related to low inventory kept contract activity below year-ago levels, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Monday. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, inched up 0.4 percent to a reading of 107.6 in March. Despite the uptick, overall activity was down on an annualized basis for the third consecutive month.

Mar18_PHS“Healthy economic conditions are creating considerable demand for purchasing a home, but not all buyers are able to sign contracts because of the lack of choices in inventory,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Steady price growth and the swift pace with which listings are coming off the market are proof that more supply is needed to fully satisfy demand. What continues to hold back sales is the fact that prospective buyers are increasingly having difficulty finding an affordable home to buy.”

Regionally, pending home sales dropped by the largest amount in the Northeast, falling 5.6 percent month over month in March and 8.1 percent year over year. Yun says multiple winter storms and colder than usual weather contributed to the decrease. Meanwhile, contract signings rose by 2.4 percent in the Midwest but are 6 percent below a year ago, and they were up by 2.5 percent in the South but are just 0.3 percent higher than a year ago. Pending home sales fell in the West by 1.1 percent month over month and are now 2.2 percent below a year ago.

“Much of the country is enjoying a thriving job market, but buying a home is becoming more expensive,” Yun says. “That is why it is an absolute necessity for there to be a large increase in new and existing homes available for sale in the coming months to moderate home price growth. Otherwise, sales will remain stuck in this holding pattern, and a growing share of would-be buyers—especially first-time buyers—will be left on the sidelines.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®; Daily Real Estate News 043018