A swing ... and a miss ... for pending home sales
* Pending home sales overall dropped 3.2% from March. Economists expected a 0.3% gain. March's 4.9% drop was revised slightly to a 4.5% fall.
* Sales fell sharply in the Northeast (-10.4%) and the West (-10.2%), rose slightly in the South (+0.7%) and climbed a bit more quickly in the Midwest (+2.3%)
* From a year ago, the seasonally adjusted pending home sales index is down 10.2%. The reading of 101.4 in April was the lowest since February 2003, and is off just over 20% from the April 2005 peak.
My take? The spring selling season just isn't going well. Sales volume is declining because homeowners are clinging to unrealistic asking prices. That's causing inventory to pile up -- and keeping the pressure on sellers. Unless and until existing home sellers start cutting prices aggressively ... like the new home builders clearly are ... the market will remain weak.
Meanwhile, keep an eye on interest rates. They're starting to rise again. That will only make mortgage financing more expensive for buyers here at the tail end of the key spring season.