The Home Buyer's Korner

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March 2nd, 2015

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Pending Home Sales for January

Homes Sales

Pending Home Sales which is a forward-looking gauge home purchases rose in January to its highest level in nearly a year and a half. A sign that housing demand might be increasing.

The National Association of Realtors® released its pending home sales index, which is based on contract signed for existing homes and reported an increased 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted level of 104.2 in January from its upwardly revised reading of 102.5 in December. Housing economists had expected pending home sales would rise 2 percent last month after dropping in December. The index rose 8.4 percent in January from a year earlier, which represents its highest reading since August 2013, when home sales were fell after mortgage rates began their march higher for the remainder of the year and only recently began to come back down. 

Indications point to modest sales gains as we head into the spring buying season, but we are facing a tight inventory that could send prices higher and cause many would-be home buyers to sideline any thoughts of home ownership. 

The housing market has entered 2015 with much uncertainty after a less than stellar 2014. Sales of existing homes, which make up about 90 percent the housing market fell roughly 3 percent in in 2014 from the prior year.

 In January, existing home sales dropped 4.90 percent from the prior month to their slowest pace since last spring. New Home Sales dropped 0.2 percent in January from December’s reading, but the good news in new home sale is they are at fastest pace since mid-2008.

Home Builder activity dipped in January by 2.0 percent from the prior month and single-family housing starts declined 6.7 percent from December’s reading. However, housing starts rose 18.7 percent in January from a year earlier, which reflects a 16.3 percent increase in construction of single-family homes and even stronger growth for multifamily structures that includes apartment buildings. 

According to the National Association of Realtors® December report, pending sales rose 3.2 percent in the south, 2.2 percent in the west, 0.1% in the northeast and fell 0.7% in the Midwest.

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