After dropping 1.1% the previous month, pending home sales increased 0.8% in November compared to October to reach a score of 104.8 on the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index.
On a year-over-year basis, pending homes sales were up about 4.1% compared to November 2013, when they reached an index score of 100.7. All major regions except for the Midwest experienced small gains in November.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, says he expects to see pending home sales pick up in 2015.
‘The consistent economic growth and steady hiring we've seen the second half of this year is giving buyers enough assurance to consider purchasing a home before year's end,’ Yun says in a statement. ‘With rents now rising at a seven-year high, historically low rates and moderating price growth are likely to entice more buyers to enter the market in upcoming months.’
Yun hypothesizes that lower gas prices could help prospective buyers save for bigger down payments in 2015.
‘There's still misperception out there that a much higher down payment is needed, while that's not the reality,’ he says. This is backed by NAR's data, which shows that the median down payment currently ranges from 6% for first-time buyers to 13% for repeat buyers.
Regionally, pending home sales increased 1.4% month over month in the Northeast, 1.3% in the South and 0.4% in the West. Pending sales were down 0.4% in the Midwest.
NAR forecasts that existing-homes sales this year will reach 4.94 million, a decline of 3% from last year's 5.09 million.
However, the association is calling for existing-home sales to rise to 5.30 million in 2015.