Washington - Pending home sales declined 5.5% to an index reading of 95.5 in April after an unrevised 4.1% increase to 101.1 in March, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted that the index would remain unchanged.
Year-over-year the pending homes sales index is up 14.4% from last April, when the index was 83.5.
Regionally, pending sales mostly declined. The Northeast saw a 0.9% increase to 78.9, while sales fell 0.3% in the Midwest to 93.0. In the South, sales dropped 6.8% to 105.7, and sales slipped 12.0% to 94.9 in the West.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun called the falling index a one-month setback that does not reflect the overall improvement in the housing sector.
“Home contract activity has been above year-ago levels now for 12 consecutive months. The housing recovery momentum continues,” Yun said.
Yun said he expected continued improvement, but the federal government would have to provide a measure of reassurance.
“Housing market activity has clearly broken out at notably higher levels and is on track to see the best performance since 2007,” he said. “All of the major housing market indicators are expected to trend gradually up, but a new federal budget must be passed before the end of the year for the economy to continue to move forward.”