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Financial News: U.S. Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Flat In September

U.S. Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Flat In September

10/26/2017 - 10:19:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Pending home sales in the U.S. were unexpectedly flat in the month of September, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Thursday.

NAR said its pending home sales index came in at 106.0 in September, unchanged from a downwardly revised reading for August. Economists had expected pending home sales to rise by 0.2 percent.

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.

Although pending home sales were unchanged on a monthly basis, the index was down by 3.5 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

"While most of the country, except for the South, did see minor gains in contract signings last month, activity is falling further behind last year's pace because new listings aren't keeping up with what's being sold," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

He added, "Hurricane Irma's direct hit on Florida weighed on activity in the South, but similar to how Houston has rebounded after Hurricane Harvey, Florida's strong job and population growth should guide sales back to their pre-storm pace fairly quickly."

The report said pending home sales in the South slumped by 2.3 percent in September compared to the previous month.

On the other hand, pending home sales in the West jumped by 1.9 percent, while pending sales in the Midwest and Northeast climbed by 1.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

NAR released a separate report last Friday showing an unexpected rebound in existing home sales in the month of September.

The report said existing home sales climbed by 0.7 percent to an annual rate of 5.39 million in September from a rate of 5.35 million in August. Economists had expected existing home sales to see further downside and drop to a rate of 5.30 million.

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department released a report showing a substantial increase in new home sales in September.

The report said new home sales surged up by 18.9 percent to an annual rate of 667,000 in September from a revised rate of 561,000 in August.

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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