Pending home sales rose in the month of February, climbing for the second consecutive month
, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Each of the four major regions saw an increase in month-over-month contract activity
, as well as growth in year-over-year pending home sales transactions compared to one year ago. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)
grew 2.4 percent to 111.5 in February. Year-over-year contract signings increased 9.4 percent. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
The Northeast PHSI rose 2.8 percent to 96.3 in February, 5.9 percent higher than a year ago. In the Midwest, the index increased 4.5 percent to 110.1 last month, 14.9 percent higher than in February 2019. Pending home sales in the South inched up 0.1 percent to an index of 129.2 in February, a 7.1 percent increase from February 2019. The index in the West grew 4.6 percent in February 2020 to 97.1, a jump of 10.8 percent from a year ago.
“February’s pending sales figures show the housing market had been very healthy prior to the Coronavirus-induced shutdown,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Numbers in the coming weeks will show just how hard the housing market was hit, but I am optimistic that the upcoming stimulus package will lessen the economic damage and we may get a ‘V-shaped’ robust recovery later in the year.”
Yun noted that markets drawing some of the most significant buyer attention include Colorado Springs, Colo.; Lafayette, Ind.; Modesto, Calif.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Sacramento, Calif.
“Housing, just like most other industries, suffered from the Coronavirus crisis, but once this predicament is behind us and the habit of social distancing is respected, I’m encouraged there will be continued home transactions though with more virtual tours, electronic signatures, and external home appraisals,” Yun said. “Many of the home sales that are likely to be missed during the first part of 2020 may simply be pushed into late summer and autumn parts of the year.”