Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lawler: Possible Upside Surprise for Pending Home Sales Index

by Bill McBride on 3/29/2015 05:16:00 PM

CR Note: The NAR is scheduled to release Pending Home Sales for February tomorrow at 10:00 AM ET. The consensus is for a 0.3% increase in the index. Housing economist Tom Lawler mentioned in his existing home sales forecast a week ago:

While not enough local realtors/MLS either report data on new pending sales or report accurate/consistent data on new pending sales for me to produce a “national” estimate, most or the realtors/MLS that do report such data showed significantly faster YOY growth in pending sales in February compared to January.
Note: The NAR reported Pending Home sales increased 1.7% in January.

Lawler sent me a note today:
Based on the admittedly limited number of other publicly-available regional/MLS reports on pending home sales, I'd look for an "upside surprise" to the NAR's Pending Home Sales Index for February.
Lawler added this example of local data from the California Association of Realtors:
• California pending home sales jumped in February, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* increasing 24.8 percent from a revised 89.9 in January to 112.2, based on signed contracts. The month-to-month increase easily topped the long-run average increase of 17.9 percent observed in the last seven years.

• Statewide pending home sales were up 15.6 percent on an annual basis from the 97.1 index recorded in February 2014. The yearly increase was the largest since April 2009 and was the first double-digit gain since April 2012.
Note: The YOY increase in the CAR PHSI in January was 6.0%.

Look for a possible upside surprise tomorrow.