Pending sales of existing U.S. homes rise most since 2011

Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes climbed in March by the most in almost three years, showing residential real estate was starting to stabilize entering the spring selling season. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



real estate

Pending sales of existing U.S. homes rise most since 2011

Posted 4/28/14

WASHINGTON – Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes climbed in March by the most in almost three years, showing residential real estate was starting to stabilize entering the spring selling season.

The pending home sales index rose 3.4 percent, the most since May 2011 and the first gain in nine months, after a 0.5 percent drop in February that was smaller than initially reported, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 1 percent increase. The gauge is 7.4 percent below a year earlier.

Housing demand has weakened since the middle of last year as rising prices and borrowing costs put ownership out of reach for some prospective buyers. An improving employment outlook and easier access to credit would help entice more house hunters to sign purchase contracts.

“The backdrop in general for housing remains reasonably positive,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics Ltd. in Valhalla, N.Y., who projected a 2.5 percent gain. “The labor market is improving, confidence generally has been edging up and mortgage rates are still pretty low.”

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 35 economists ranged from a 2 percent decline to a 7 percent increase after a previously reported 0.8 percent drop in February.

Stocks held gains after the figures, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rising 0.7 percent to 1,876.24 at 10:04 a.m. in New York. The S&P Supercomposite Homebuilding Index advanced 2.7 percent.

NAR projections

Purchase contracts fell from the year prior after a 10 percent decrease in the 12 months that ended in February on an unadjusted basis. Existing-home sales are projected to total just over 4.9 million this year, less than the 5.1 million in 2013, the trade group said.

The pending sales index was 97.4. A reading of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity in 2001, according to the Realtors group.

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

See the List of 2014 Winners. And save the date - September 10th - for the 3rd Annual Fastest Growing & Innovative Companies program at Rosecliff Mansion in Newport.
  • Healthiest Employers
    Thank you to all who attended the 3rd Annual Healthiest Employers Luncheon today ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement