I cannot access the original data — NAR servers seem to be having problems — but here is a quick blib via Bloomberg:
"The index of pending home resales rose 6.3 percent to 88.2, the highest level in six months, following a 1 percent drop in March, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. Economists projected the index would fall 0.4 percent, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 32 economists. Estimates ranged from a drop of 1.5 percent to a 1 percent gain…
Pending resales were still down 13 percent from April 2007, today’s report showed…
The number of Americans in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure
rose to the highest in almost 30 years in the first quarter, the
Mortgage Bankers Association said June 5. The total inventory of homes
in foreclosure increased to 2.47 percent and the delinquency rate, or
loans with one or more payments overdue, grew to 6.35 percent. These
were the highest since 1979."
As we have noted many times in the past, the year-over-year Pending Home Sales Index data is what matters, not the monthly
changes. From the NAR website:
"In developing the model
for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly
sales-contract activity from 2001 through 2004 parallels the level of
closed existing-home sales in the following two months. There is a
closer relationship between annual index changes (from the same month a
year earlier) and year-ago changes in sales performance than with
While a 6.3% monthly number is an improvement over prior monthly data, the 13% drop in the index from last
year is forecasting further housing weakness.
Chart courtesy of Northern Trust
UPDATE: June 9, 2008 12:42pm
You just knew an idiot quote was forthcoming . . .
"Bargain hunters have entered the market en masse, especially in areas that have seen double-digit price declines," said National Association of Realtors chief economist, Lawrence Yun. Regions of the country that have seen sharp price declines, such as the West, are now seeing a sales recovery, he added.
"We are seeing an acceleration in foreclosures. As foreclosures have taken off, they put pressure on prices. Banks have become more aggressive with sales on homes they have foreclosed," said Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York.
Housing Market Is Showing Signs of a Turnaround
Pending Home Sales Index, NAR Housing Market "Bottoms" (January 2008) http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/01/a-history-of-ho.html
Pending Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Unexpectedly Rose 6.3%
By Courtney Schlisserman
Bloomberg, June 9 2008