U.S. Pending Home Sales Fell 7.1% in August
Real Estate In-Depth | September 28, 2023
WASHINGTON—Pending home sales slid 7.1% in August, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors on Sept. 28. All four U.S. regions posted monthly losses and year-over-year declines in transactions. Northeast home sales fell less than one percentage point as compared to August 2022.
“Mortgage rates have been rising above 7% since August, which has diminished the pool of home buyers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Some would-be home buyers are taking a pause and readjusting their expectations about the location and type of home to better fit their budgets.”
The Pending Home Sales Index—a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings—sank 7.1% to 71.8 in August. Year-over-year, pending transactions fell by 18.7%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
“It’s clear that increased housing inventory and better interest rates are essential to revive the housing market,” Yun said.
He added, “The Federal Reserve must consider the sharply decelerating rent growth in its consideration of future monetary policy. There is no need to raise interest rates. “Moreover, the government shutdown will disrupt some home sales in the short run due to the lack of flood insurance or delays in government-backed mortgage issuance.”
Pending Home Sales Regional Breakdown
The Northeast PHSI declined 0.9% from last month to 62.6, a reduction of 18.2% from August 2022. The Midwest index dropped 7.0% to 71.3 in August, down 19.1% from one year ago.
The South PHSI fell 9.1% to 86.5 in August, dipping 17.6% from the prior year. The West index retreated 7.7% in August to 56.3, sinking 21.4% from August 2022.