Low home prices and mortgage rates have combined to push home affordability to record levels nationwide. Home buyers are taking advantage.
The Pending Home Sales Index rose 7 percent in November to rise to its highest level since April 2010, the last month of last year’s home buyer tax credit program.
The Pending Home Sales Index is published monthly by the National Association of REALTORS®. It measures homes under contract nationwide, but not yet “sold”.
In this way, the Pending Home Sales Index is different from other housing market indicators. It’s a “forward-looking” figure; a predictor of future home sales. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, more than 80% of homes under contract close within 60 days.
By contrast, housing data such as the Existing Home Sales report and the New Home Sales report “look back”.
November marks the second straight month of Pending Home Sales Index improvement. The housing market metric made big gains of 10 percent in October 2011, as well.
On a regional basis, each part of the country showed an increase in homes under contract.
- Northeast Region: +8.1 percent from October 2011
- Midwest Region : +3.3 percent from October 2011
- South Region : +4.3 percent from October 2011
- West Region : +14.9 percent from October 2011
However, here in Madeira, we must discount the value of even the regional data, somewhat. Like else in real estate, the volume of homes going under contract vary by locality.
Throughout the West Region, for example, the region in which pending home sales increased the most from October, there are nearly a dozen states. Undoubtedly, some of those states performed better than others in terms of “homes under contract”, but we don’t have an indication of which states those were.
In addition, within each state, every city, town, and neighborhood realized its own unique market in November, and produced its own sales statistics.
For buyers and sellers throughout Kentucky and the country, therefore, it’s more important to watch data on a local level than on a national one. Reports like the Pending Home Sales Index are helpful in showing national trends, but as an individual, what you need are local trends.
For local real estate data, be sure to ask your agent.
Despite the lowest mortgage rates of all-time, home buyers are slowing the pace at which they’re buying homes.
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the Pending Home Sales Index fell 1 percent in August.
The Pending Home Sales Index measures homes under contract, but not yet sold, nationwide. In this respect, the Pending Home Sales Index is a forward-looking housing market indicator; a predictor of future home sales.
It’s one of the few national indices that “looks ahead” to future market conditions. Most housing data, by contrast, describes past events.
On a regional basis, only the South Region showed improvement in August’s Pending Home Sales Index report :
- Northeast Region: -5.8%
- Midwest Region : -3.7%
- South Region : +2.6%
- West Region : -2.4%
That said, even the value of regional data can be questioned. Like all things in real estate, the number of homes going under contract will vary on the local level.
For example, in the Northeast Region where pending home sales slipped in August, there are close to a dozen states. Some of those states performed better than others, and there is no doubt that cities and towns exist in the region in which pending home sales actually climbed.
As a national/regional report, the Pending Home Sales Index cannot show local market data and, for that reason, it’s somewhat irrelevant to everyday buyers and sellers in Madeira. If you’re in the market to buy or sell a home today, it’s your local housing market data that matters to you.
We watch the Pending Home Sales Index because it paints a broad picture of housing nationwide. To get local market conditions, though, you’ll want to talk with a local real estate professional.
After 3 straight months of gains, the Pending Home Sales Index slipped 1 percent in July. The monthly report is published by the National Association of REALTORS® and measures the number of home under contract to sell nationwide.
The Pending Home Sales Index is closely watched by Wall Street and analysts because it’s a forward-looking housing market indicator. Unlike most housing market data, though, Pending Home Sales forecasts a future housing market event. In this case, the Existing Home Sales report.
In its methodology, the Pending Home Sales Index states that 80% of homes under contract close within 2 months, with most of the remaining home going to closing within Months 3 and 4.
We would expect home sales data to taper into the fall buying season, but this year, they may taper more than normal. This is because, in a separate report, the National Association of REALTORS® said that contract cancellation rates are running high.
As compared to a 4 percent contract cancellation rate in May 2011, June and July both registered 16 percent. This means that fewer homes tallied as part of July’s Pending Home Sales Index will show up as “closed sales” this fall.
Contracts can be canceled for any number of reasons including more stringent mortgage guidelines, appraisals falling short of the purchase price, and changing mortgage loan limits.
For home buyers in Mason , the Pending Home Sales Index may represent an opportunity. Not only are fewer homes going under contract nationwide, but with cancellation rates spiking, sellers may be more willing to “make a deal”.
Note, though, like all real estate, the pace at which homes go under contract is a “local” statistic; you can’t assume national data applies to all markets equally. Your home market, for example, may out-perform — or under-perform — the national average.
For a closer look at what’s happening on your street including the speed at which homes are selling, talk to a local real estate agent.