Pending-home sales are down, and additional declines are expected because of abnormal weather conditions, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says.
The trade group's Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in January, fell 7.6% to 90.4 from an upwardly revised 97.8 in December, but remains 12.3% higher than January 2009, when it was 80.5.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the abnormally severe winter weather hampered shopping in February. Weak near-term sales will likely be followed by a surge in existing-home sales in April, May and June, he added.
‘The real question is what happens in the second half of the year," Yun says. "If there is sufficient job creation, housing can become self-sustaining with stable to modestly rising home prices, because inventory has been trending downward."
The PHSI fell 8.7% in the Northeast, 8.9% in the Midwest, 2.1% in the South and 13.2% in the West.
SOURCE: National Association of Realtors