Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Pending home sales climb 3.2% in July

The National Association of Realtors released its data on pending home sales today. Here's what the numbers looked like ...

* Pending home sales climbed 3.2% in July. That was more than double the 1.5% gain that economists were expecting.

* On a year-over-year basis, the pending sales index was up 12.1% to 97.6 from 87.1. That's the highest index value since June 2007.

* Regionally, pendings were a mixed bag. They rose 3.1% in the South and ramped 12.1% in the West. Sales dipped 2% in the Midwest and fell 3% in the Northeast.

We continue to see noted improvement in home sales. Pendings climbed twice as much as the market was expecting, with strength concentrated in the key South and West regions. This fits with other reports on new home sales, builder confidence, and pricing, which all indicate an improved tone to the housing market after four years of misery.

The looming expiration of the home buyer tax credit may take some of the wind out of the market's sails this fall. And the influx of distressed property into the market promises to keep supply levels elevated over the next 12 to 18 months. But the overall trend toward stabilization is undeniable at this point.


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