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Financial News: U.S. Pending Home Sales Rise Slightly More Than

U.S. Pending Home Sales Rise Slightly More Than Expected In December

01/31/2018 - 10:21:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - A report released by the National Association of Realtors on Wednesday showed pending home sales in the U.S. increased for the third consecutive month in December.

NAR said its pending home sales index climbed by 0.5 percent to 110.1 in December after rising by 0.3 percent to an upwardly revised 109.6 in November. Economists had expected the index to increase by 0.4 percent.

With the slightly bigger than expected increase, the pending home sales index reached its highest level since hitting 111.3 last March.

A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

"Jobs are plentiful, wages are finally climbing and the prospect of higher mortgage rates are perhaps encouraging more aspiring buyers to begin their search now," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

"Sadly, these positive indicators may not lead to a stronger sales pace," he added. "Buyers throughout the country continue to be hamstrung by record low supply levels that are pushing up prices - especially at the lower end of the market."

The increase in pending home sales reflected growth in the South and West, where pending sales climbed by 2.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, pending home sales in Northeast slumped by 5.1 percent and pending sales in the Midwest edged down by 0.3 percent.

NAR released a separate report last Wednesday showing existing home sales pulled back by more than anticipated in the month of December.

The report said existing home sales tumbled by 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 5.57 million in December after jumping by 5.1 percent to a revised 5.78 million in November.

Economists had expected existing home sales to drop to a rate of 5.70 million from the 5.81 million originally reported for the previous month.

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