Pending-Home Sales Edge Up in November 2013

More positive conditions suggest stable environment for sales and prices in 2014.

Pending-home sales stabilized in November 2013 with a slight gain, inching up 0.2% to 101.7% in November from a downwardly revised 101.5% in October. But the index is 1.6% below November 2012 when it was 103.3%, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The Pending-Home Sales Index measures the number of homes that are under contract to sell, where the deal hasn’t yet reached the closing table.

“Although the final months of 2013 are finishing on a soft note, the year as a whole will end with the best sales total in seven years,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “We may have reached a cyclical low because the positive fundamentals of job creation and household formation are likely to foster a fairly stable level of contract activity in 2014.”

Buyers’ Market Continues

Yun said the market still favors buyers in most of the country, but higher mortgage interest rates in combination with strong price gains mean a more modest growth in values is expected in 2014.

Pending-Homes Sales Regionally

  Percentage change in Nov. 2013 Compared with Nov. 2012
Northeast Down 2.7% Up 1.9%
Midwest Down 3.1% Up 0.4%
South Up 2.3% Up 0.1%
West Up 1.8% Down 8.7%

Home Sales and Price Predictions

Total existing-home sales this year are expected to reach 5.1 million, a gain of almost 10% over 2012, but should stay at that level in 2014, and then rise to 5.3 million in 2015. The national median existing-home price for all of this year will be close to $197,300, up nearly 12% from 2012, but is projected to rise at a more moderate pace of 5%-5.5% in 2014, and grow another 4% in 2015.

Related: The Benefits of Homeownership