Larger-than-expected jump in pending home sales caps run of good housing numbers

Pending home sales up 7.3 percent in November

December 29, 2011

Pending home sales were up 5.9 percent in November from 2010 and up 7.3 percent from October, capping a fortnight of positive indicators for the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index hit 100.1, its highest level since April 2010's tax credit-fueled buying rush. The index reflects signed contracts, but not closings.

“November is doing reasonably well in comparison with the past year. The sustained rise in contract activity suggests that closed existing-home sales, which are the important final economic impact figures, should continue to improve in the months ahead,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 8.1 percent to 77.1 in November but is 0.3 percent below November 2010. In the Midwest the index increased 3.3 percent to 91.6 in November and is 9.5 percent above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South rose 4.3 percent in November to an index of 103.8 and remain 8.7 percent above November 2010. In the West the index surged 14.9 percent to 121.2 in November and is 2.9 percent higher than a year ago.

In the last two weeks, the numbers for new home sales, existing home sales and housing starts have all been reported as increasing. While this week's Case-Shiller report showed a decrease in prices, those are expected to recover as sales ratchet up.

Related stories:

New home sales up nearly 10 percent from 2010

Existing home sales up in November as Realtors revise sales numbers down for last 5 years

Housing starts jump 9.3% in November

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