NAR: Pending home sales fall 4.7 percent

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking index released today by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), fell 4.7 percent to a rating of 84.7 in May, compared with an upwardly revised reading of 88.9 in April.

The index remains 14 percent below last year’s figure of 98.5. A home sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed.

“The overall decline in contract signings suggests we are not out of the woods by any means,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR, in a statement. Yun went on to promote a housing stimulus bill currently under consideration in the Senate, a legislative measure for which the NAR is lobbying heavily.

Regionally, the Pending Home Sales Index slipped 1.3 percent in the West to 97.5 in May, and the reading was down 2.9 percent to 77 in the Northeast. The index fell 6 percent to 78.6 in the Midwest and 7.1 percent to 84.5 in the South.

“Some markets have seen a doubling in home sales from a year ago, while others are seeing contract signings cut in half,” Yun said. “Price conditions vary tremendously, even within a locality, depending upon a neighborhood’s exposure to subprime loans.”

Double-digit