Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Pending home sales rise 2.1% in February

We just got the latest pending home sales figures from the National Association of Realtors. Here's what they showed:

* Pending sales gained 2.1% in February. That compared with forecasts for an unchanged reading and it comes on the heels of a 7.7% plunge in January.

* The pending sales index, at 82.1, is at its second-lowest level on record. The data goes back to 2001; January was the lowest reading ever at 80.4.

* Regionally, pending sales rose in three out of four areas. They gained 10.6% in the Northeast, 14.5% in the Midwest and 4.4% in the South. Sales declined 13.5% in the West.

The latest pending sales figures mirror other housing market reports, which have all shown an uptick in transactions. At the same time, overall activity remains extremely depressed versus both recent and long-term history. Pricing also continues to be a major problem. You can sell a house in this environment, but only if you're willing to discount it heavily. I continue to foresee a rather tepid recovery in the market, with inventory levels gradually coming down, sales slowly stabilizing, but pricing continuing to decline through 2010.


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