First time buyers likely to face headwinds of affordability
as mortgage rates creep higher and supply remains limited.
Pending home sales in November slightly declined for the third time in four months as buyers continue to battle both rising home prices and limited homes available for sale, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Modest gains in the Midwest and South were offset by larger declines in the Northeast and West.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 0.9 percent to 106.9 in November from an upwardly revised 107.9 in October but is still 2.7 percent above November 2014 (104.1). Although the index has increased year-over-year for 15 consecutive months, last month’s annual gain was the smallest since October 2014 (2.6 percent).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says November’s dip in contract activity continues the modestly slowing trend seen ever since pending sales peaked to an over nine year high back in May.
“Home prices rising too sharply in several markets, mixed signs of an economy losing momentum and waning supply levels have acted as headwinds in recent months despite low mortgage rates and solid job gains,” he said. “While feedback from Realtors® continues to suggest healthy levels of buyer interest, available listings that are move-in ready and in affordable price ranges remain hard to come by for many would-be buyers.”
According to Yun, with existing housing inventory already below year ago levels and new home construction still deficient, it’s likely supply constraints and faster price appreciation will reappear once the spring buying season begins.
“Especially with mortgage rates likely on the rise, affordability issues could creep up enough to temper sales growth – especially to first-time buyers in higher priced markets,” adds Yun.
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a predicting sales indicator based on contract signings, inched 0.2 percent to 107.7 in October from an upwardly revised 107.5 in September and is now 3.9 percent above October 2014 (103.7). The index has increased year-over-year for 14 consecutive months. Continue reading →
While expecting a 0.5% rise in pending home sales, they plunged 3.7% instead.
Interest rates sunk to their lowest level of 2014, but pending home sales still cooled in December. However, they managed to stay above year-over-year levels again for the fourth consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions experienced declines in December.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 3.7 percent to 100.7 in December from a slightly downwardly revised 104.6 in November but is 6.1 percent above December 2013 (94.9). Despite last month’s decline (the largest since December 2013 at 5.8 percent), the index experienced its highest year-over-year gain since June 2013 (11.7 percent).
According to the National Association of Realtors®, the Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, dipped 0.8 percent to 93.9 from a downwardly revised 94.7 in January, and is 10.5 percent below February 2013 when it was 104.9. The February reading was the lowest since October 2011, when it was 92.2.
Adjusted Pending Homes Index Rises Month over Month, but Sinks Year over Year
PHSI suggests that December existing home sales may be worse than November’s.
According to data from the National Association of Realtors®, the pending home sales index (PHSI) fell short of expectations for the 5th month in a row. The good news—the index did stop a 5-month losing streak by inching up 0.2 percent to 101.7 in November from a downwardly revised 101.5 in October. The bad news—that leaves the Index 1.6 percent below November 2012 when it was 103.3 and that the year-over-year 4% home sales collapse of the unadjusted PHSI is the fastest downhill slide since April 2011.
What does NAR say? “We may have reached a cyclical low.” A glance at the chart will reveal that calling this a “cyclical low” is maaaay be a bit of a stretch.
October Pending Home Sales (Unexpectedly) Crash Again; Expected to Level Out
Fifth consecutive monthly decline; government shutdown, limited inventory, decreasing affordability taking the heat.
Although conditions were mixed across the country, pending home sales continued to move lower in October, marking the fifth consecutive monthly decline, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Pending Home Sales Decline in August for Third Consecutive Month
NAR Expects lower levels of existing-home sales, but higher home prices in the months ahead.
Pending home sales slowed in August for the third month in a row. Tight inventory conditions, higher interest rates, rising home prices and continuing restrictive mortgage credit are to blame, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).
September Pending Home Sales Show Marginal Improvement
NAR predicts only minor movement in near-term existing-home sales.
Those who hoped to see pending home sales rebound from the slide in August had little to cheer about as the Index was only slightly improved in September. However, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reminds them that sales remain well above numbers posted a year ago.