Pending home sales decline unexpectedly

By Jann Swanson | Mortgage Daily News

It seemed safe to say, even before the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) released the pending home sale numbers for April, that some analyst somewhere would be able to say, “I told you so.” Trading Economics had a +0.8 consensus estimate while Econoday’s consensus of 2.0 percent was for growth predictions ranging from 0.8 to 5.0 percent.

Guess what, everybody was wrong. Very wrong.

NAR’s Pending Home Sale Index (PHSI), which is based on signed contracts to purchase existing homes, dropped 4.4 percent from its March level to 106.2 in April, very close to the 100 benchmark set 20 years earlier. Year-over-year, signings jumped 51.7 percent compared to April 2020 when pandemic-related shutdowns brought sales to an all-time low. The drop in the PHSI does not bode well for existing home sales over the next few months. Those sales have fallen for the last two months.

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