Pending Home Sales Index UP Sharply in March

Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • National Association of Realtors’ March Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) ROSE 3.8 percent from February to 105.8;
  • Year-year the index was DOWN 1.9 percentage points;

Trends:

  • The Index rose to its highest level since last June;
  • Index is down year-year for 15 straight months;

Data Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)

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The National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales index rose in March to its highest level since last June – an increase of 3.percent points to 105.8.

The index could mean the housing drought which has seen sale of existing single-family home fall in nine of the last 12 months may be ending.

Home sales in January fell to the lowest level in five years but rebounded in February even as the pending home sales index for that month fell.

The bump in the sales index could signal a further drop in home prices, a effort to counter the impact of the tax act which took effect in December 2017 and capped the tax advantages of homeownership. The Census bureau reported last week the first drop in the homeownership rate in two years.

The PHSI tracks contracts for sale as does the Census Bureau’s report of new home sales. The Census report showed a bump in home sales in March accompanied by a sharp drop in the median price of a new home. The NAR report for home sales though showed a 4.9 percent decline in closings as the median price increased 3.7 percent or $9,300 to $259,400.

The PHSI has fallen for seven of the last 12 months – each time presaging a drop in home sales, Indeed home sales also fell last August and November when the PHSI showed only a slight gain of one percent or less. In January, the PHSI rose 4.3 percent but actual sales two months later fell 4.9 percent.


Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on POTUS Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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