Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Pending home sales dip 0.7% in October

The National Association of Realtors just released its report on October pending home sales. Here's what the figures showed:

* Pending home sales dipped 0.7% in October. That was better than the 3% decline that economists were expecting. September's reading was revised to -4.3% from -4.6%.

* The pending home sales index, at 88.9, was down 1% from its year-earlier reading of 89.8. The cycle low was 83 in March.

* Geographically, pendings rose 0.6% in the Northeast and 7.8% in the South. But they declined 4.3% in the Midwest and 8.7% in the West.

It was a bit of a mixed bag for pending sales in October. Pendings rose in two regions, but fell in two others. That resulted in a net decline, but one that was smaller than forecast.

Conditions appear mixed in the near term. The Treasury and the Fed are doing all they can to drive down mortgage rates, and they have had some success. Lower prices in some of the hardest hit markets, and almost irresistible bargains on distressed properties, are also bringing some buyers out of the woodwork. On the other hand, the economy continues to struggle and unemployment continues to rise. I expect sales to remain choppy over the next couple of months as these opposing forces duke it out.


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