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Recent Mortgage News

NAR says harsh winter to blame for dip in pending home sales

Feb 03, 2014

There was a measurable drop in pending home sales during December, with abnormally adverse weather keeping people away from home shopping in large parts of the United States.  This is according to a report released by the NAR (National Association of Realtors). 

All four major regions in the country experienced declines. 

The Pending Home Sales Index dropped by 8.7% to 92.4 last month from November’s revised figure of 101.2.  This was also 8.8% lower than in December the previous year when it stood at 101.3.  The results for December are the lowest since October 2011, when the index was at 92.2.  These statistics include contracts but not closings.

According to the chief economist at the NAR, Lawrence Yun, a number of factors worked against buyers in December.  He said: “Unusually disruptive weather across large stretches of the country in December forced people indoors and prevented some buyers from looking at homes or making offers.” 

Yun added that the fact that home prices were currently increasing faster than people’s incomes was also causing some buyers to hesitate, while lack of inventory at the same time hampered the market as well, because it limited potential buyers’ choice. 

He went on to say that, although it might take a few months for the market to regain its momentum, pent-up demand and continued job growth were positive factors. 

The Pending Home Sales Index in the Northeast of the US dropped top 74.1 in December.  This is 10.3% lower than in November and 5.5% lower than a year ago.

In the Midwestern United States the Index dropped from 100.4 in November to 93.6 in December.  This is 6.9% lower than it was in December 2012. 

In the South, pending home sales dropped from 113.7 in November to 104.9 in December – 6.9% lower than in December 2012.

The index in the Western United States, which suffers most from a lack of inventory, dropped from 95.5 to 85.7 in December.  This is 16% lower than in December 2012.

Despite this setback, total sales of existing homes should be close to 5.1 million in 2014, very close to the figure recorded for 2013.  Inventory, however, remains constricted in large parts of the country.

Relatively low mortgage interest rates will also continue to boost the property market this year.

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