US pending home sales at highest for over nine years

Taylor Scott International News

Pending home sales in the United States continued to rise in May and are now at their highest level in over nine years, the latest index data shows. Gains in the Northeast and West were offset by small decreases in the Midwest and South, according to the Pending Home Sales index from the National Association of Realtors which is a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings. The index climbed 0.9% to 112.6 in May from a slight downward revision of 111.6 in April and is now 10.4% above May 2014 when it was 101.9. The index has now increased year on year for nine consecutive months and is at its highest level since April 2006. According to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, contract activity rose again in May for the fifth straight month, increasing the likelihood that home sales are off to their best year since the downturn. ‘The steady pace of solid job creation seen now for over a year has given the housing market a boost this spring. It's very encouraging to now see a broad based recovery with all four major regions showing solid gains from a year ago and new home sales also coming alive,’ he explained. However, Yun warned that this year's stronger sales amidst similar housing supply levels from a year ago have caused home prices to rise to an unhealthy and unsustainable pace. ‘Housing affordability remains a pressing issue with home price growth increasing around four times the pace of wages. Without meaningful gains in new and existing supply, there's no question the goalpost will move further away for many renters wanting to become home owners,’ he added. The PHSI in the Northeast increased 6.3% to 93.9 in May, and is now 10.6% above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined 0.6% to 111.4 in May, but is still 7.8% above May 2014. Pending home sales in the South decreased 0.8% to an index of 127.8 in May but are still 10.6% above last May. The index in the West rose 2.2% in May to 104.5, and is 13% above a year ago. Continue reading →

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