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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Pending Home Sales Index Down 7.7%

by Calculated Risk on 3/03/2009 10:00:00 AM

From the NAR: Pending Home Sales Down but Housing Affordability at Record

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in January, fell 7.7 percent to 80.4 from a downwardly revised reading of 87.1 in December, and is 6.4 percent below January 2008 when it was 85.9. The index is at the lowest level since tracking began in 2001, when the index value was set at 100.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said ... “We expect similarly soft home sales in the near term ... "
emphasis added
This suggests a further decline in existing home sales for the March report (January was the most recent report). Note: there still might be a slight increase in existing home sales in February based on the December Pending Home Sales report.

Note: Existing home sales are reported at the close of escrow, pending home sales are reported when contracts are signed. The Pending Home Sales index leads existing home sales by about 45 days, so the January report suggests existing home sales will decrease from February to March.

Finally, ignore the "affordability index". That really just tells us that interest rates are low - something we already know.