Under-Contract Homes Up Slightly in April as Buyers Find More Choice

With more sellers putting their homes on the market and interest rates dipping slightly, the number of homes contracted to sell rose slightly in April 2014.

The number of homes under contract rose just a bit last month as homebuyers got a boost from falling mortgage interest rates and a larger selection of homes for sale, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’® Pending Home Sales Index.

A gradual uptrend in home sales is expected, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Higher inventory levels are giving buyers more choice, and a slight decline in mortgage interest rates this spring is raising prospective homebuyers’ confidence,” he said. “An uptrend in closed sales is expected, although some months will encounter a modest setback.”

Yun projects the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage will rise to 5.5% next year. “The extent to which higher mortgage interest rates will impact housing affordability and sales depends on income growth, ongoing improvement in the labor market, and any change to mortgage underwriting conditions,” he said.

He also expects the national median existing-home price to rise 5%-6% this year, and in the range of 4%-5% in 2015.

Pending Home Sales by Region

  April 2014 Compared with April 2013
National Up 0.4% Down 9.2%
Northeast Up 0.6% Down 12.0%
Midwest Up 5.0% Down 6.9%
South Down 0.6% Down 6.4%
West Down 2.9% Down 15.0%