NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that January’s pending home sales pace was up 4.6 percent last month but fell 2.3 percent from a year ago.
Pending sales represent homes that have a signed contract to purchase on them but have yet to close. They tend to lead existing-home sales data by 1 to 2 months.
Three of the four regions showed declines from a year ago. The Northeast had the only gain in sales of 7.6 percent. The West experienced the biggest dip of 10.1 percent followed by the South with a decline of 3.1 percent. The Midwest had the smallest dip in sales of 0.3 percent.
From last month, all four regions showed inclines in contract signings. The South region had the biggest gain of 8.9 percent. The Midwest was up 2.8 percent followed by the Northeast with an increase of 1.6 percent. The West region had a modest incline of 0.3 percent.
The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 103.2. December’s data was revised to 98.7.
January’s incline brings the pending index back above the 100 level mark after going below in December for the first time in four years.
The 100 level is based on a 2001 benchmark and is consistent with a healthy market and existing-home sales above the 5 million mark.