NAR: Pending home sales slip in Feb.; year-over-year declines continue

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Pending home sales declined 1.0% to an index reading of 101.9 in February, after a revised 4.3% gain to 102.9 in January, according to a report released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors.

The January number was first reported as a 4.6% rise to 103.2.

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

Year-over-year the pending homes sales index decreased 4.9% from the previous February, when the index was 107.2. This is the fourteenth consecutive month sales have dropped on an annual basis.

Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted the index would be up 0.3% in the month.

Regionally, pending sales were mixed in the month. Northeast sales fell 0.8% to 92.1, sales in the Midwest sales dropped 7.2% to 93.2. Sales rose 1.7% in the South to 121.8, and sales climbed 0.5% in the West to 87.5.

“In January, pending contracts were up close to 5 percent, so this month’s 1 percent drop is not a significant concern,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “As a whole, these numbers indicate that a cyclical low in sales is in the past but activity is not matching the frenzied pace of last spring.”

The Federal Reserve is expected to hold interest rates steady this year, “which will help mortgage rates stay at attractive levels,” he said.

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Economic indicators Housing NAR