Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Pending home sales climb 3.6% in June

The National Association of Realtors just released the latest data on pending home sales. The June figures continued the recent trend of improvement ...

* Pending home sales climbed 3.6% in June. That was much better than the 0.7% gain that economists were expecting. Last month's 0.1% gain was also revised higher, to 0.8%.

* On a year-over-year basis, the pending sales index was up 6.7% to 94.6 from 88.7. That's the highest index value going all the way back to June 2007.

* Pendings gained in all four regions of the country. They rose 0.4% in the Northeast, 0.8% in the Midwest, 2.9% in the West, and 7.1% in the South.

Slow and steady improvement is the story in the U.S. housing market. Pending home sales rose in June on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. Moreover, the improvement was broad-based. We saw sales gains in all four regions of the country, and the pending index overall hit its highest level in almost two years.

We won't return to the "glory days" of the mid-2000s in housing, but frankly, that's a good thing. I'd much rather see steady, consistent gains in sales; steady, consistent reductions in the rate of price depreciation; and steady, consistent declines in home inventory. That's exactly what is happening, and what should continue to happen as long as mortgage rates don't spike too sharply and/or unemployment doesn't worsen materially from here.


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