NAR: Pending home sales slide in Dec.; 12 straight year-over-year declines

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Pending home sales dropped 2.2% to an index reading of 99.0 in December, after a revised 0.9% decline to 101.2 in November, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors.

The November number was first reported as a 0.7% fall to 101.4.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001.

Year-over-year the pending homes sales index decreased 9.8% from the previous December, when the index was 109.8. This is the twelfth consecutive month sales have dropped on an annual basis.

Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted the index would be up 0.5%.

Regionally, pending sales were mostly lower. Northeast sales grew 2.0% to 93.2, sales slid 5.0% in the South to 109.7, and in the Midwest sales declined 0.6% to 97.5. Sales grew 1.7% in the West to 88.4.

“The stock market correction hurt consumer confidence, record high home prices cut into affordability and mortgage rates were higher in October and November for consumers signing contracts in December,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.

The Federal Reserve’s lowering its forecasts for rate hikes in 2019 “has already spurred a noticeable fall in the 30-year, fixed-rate for mortgages. As a result, the forecast for home transactions has greatly improved,“ Yun said.

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