Pending home sales in the U.S. rose only modestly in November, further suggesting a struggling housing market and underlying weakness in the economy.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Wednesday its Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on contracts signed last month, increased by just 0.8 percent to 104.8. The NAR also revised downward its index in October to a lower level.
Contracts rose in the Northeast, South and West. However, contracts fell in the Midwest.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast total pending home sales rising 0.5 percent in November from the previously reported level.
Compared to October of last year, contracts were up 4.1 percent.
The report ends the year with the latest negative housing market data, which investors are largely ignoring. U.S. single-family home price appreciation slowed less than forecast in October, according to a closely watched housing market survey released on Tuesday.
New home sales for single-family units in the U.S. fell for a second straight month in November, according to the Commerce Department report released last week. The data are particularly concerning considering the amount of risk the government is re-injecting into the housing sector.
The National Mortgage Risk Index (NMRI) for Agency purchase loans rose in November to 11.69 percent, up from the average of 11.29 percent for the prior three months (revised). The risk indices for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA, and the VA all hit series highs in November.