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Pending Home Sales Up, as Prices Remain Flat

Phil Hall
Mar 28, 2016
The Lenders One Cooperative polled participants at its annual summer conference on key trends in the mortgage industry

Pending home sales took a vibrant leap upwards, but home prices saw relatively little positive movement, according to a pair of new data releases.

The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) increased by 3.5 percent to 109.1 in February from a downwardly revised 105.4 in January. And while the year-over-year gain was a very modest 0.7 percent, it nonetheless marked the 18th consecutive month of year-over-year PHSI increases.

On a regional basis, the Midwest PHSI skyrocketed 11.4 percent in February to 112.6 percent, while the South increased by 2.1 percent to an index reading of 122.4 and the West upticked 0.7 percent to a 96.4 level reading. The Northeast declined 0.2 percent to 94.0 in February.

“After some volatility this winter, the latest data is encouraging in that a decent number of buyers signed contracts last month, lured by mortgage rates dipping to their lowest levels in nearly a year1 and a modest, seasonal uptick in inventory,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Looking ahead, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what’s being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers. Without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau.”

Separately, new data from Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS) found U.S. home prices rising by an anemic 0.1 percent monthly measurement in January, although the year-over-year measurement saw a 5.3 percent jump. New York led the states with 0.9 percent month-over-month appreciation, while Illinois was at the other end of the spectrum with -0.4 percent activity. Florida and Pennsylvania accounted for nine of the top 10 best performing metropolitan areas, while California was home to half of the 10 worst performing metro areas.

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