Market news

28 March 2019

U.S. pending home sales unexpectedly drop in February

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced on Thursday its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index (PHSI) fell 1.0 percent m-o-m to 101.9 in February, down from 102.9 in January.

Economists had expected pending home sales to raise 0.7 percent m-o-m in February. 

On y-o-y basis, the index tumbled 4.9 percent. That was the 14th consecutive month of annual declines. 

According to the report, the pending home sales rose in in two of the four regions in m-o-m terms but fell in most regions compared to February 2018. Pending home sales in the South inched up 1.7 percent m-o-m to an index of 121.8 in February, which is 2.9 percent lower than this time last year. The PHSI in the West increased 0.5 percent m-o-m in February to 87.5 and fell 9.6 percent below a year ago. The index in the Northeast decreased 0.8 percent m-o-m to 92.1 in February, and is now 2.6 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index dropped 7.2 percent m-o-m to 93.2 in February, 6.1 percent lower than February 2018.

The chief economist for the NAR, Lawrence Yun, said February’s pending home sales decline is coming off a solid gain in the prior month. “In January, pending contracts were up close to 5 percent, so this month’s 1 percent drop is not a significant concern,” he noted. “As a whole, these numbers indicate that a cyclical low in sales is in the past but activity is not matching the frenzied pace of last spring.”

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