Pending home sales declined for the eighth straight month in February, according to data collected by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
Modest sales increases in the Midwest and West last month were offset by declines in the Northeast and South, and pending sales in all regions were below where they were at this time last year.
NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) measures the number of homes under contract that haven’t yet reached the closing table.
“Contract signings for the past three months have been little changed, implying the market appears to be stabilizing,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Moreover, buyer traffic information from our monthly REALTOR® survey shows a modest turnaround, and some weather-delayed transactions should close in the spring.”
NAR’s PHSI data shows:
|February 2014||February 2013|
|Northeast||Down 2.4%||Down 7.4%|
|Midwest||Up 2.8%||Down 8.5%|
|South||Down 4.0%||Down 9.3%|
|West||Up 2.3%||Down 16.5%|
Total Home Sales
About 5 million existing homes will change hands this year, NAR predicts. That’s just below the nearly 5.1 million existing homes sold in 2013.
Housing starts are projected to rise almost 19% in 2014, and reach about 1.1 million, closer to the underlying demand of 1.5 million.
The gain in new home construction will reduce some of the pressure on home prices, with the national median existing-home price expected to rise in the range of 5.5%-6% this year, compared with an 11.5% jump in 2013.