Pending home sales in November declined more than expected for the third time in four months, slipping 0.9% from a month earlier to a reading of 106.9. While the index conducted by the National Association of Realtors has increased year-over-year for 15 consecutive months, last month’s 2.6% annual gain was the smallest since October 2014.
“Home prices rising too sharply in several markets, mixed signs of an economy losing momentum and waning supply levels have acted as headwinds in recent months despite low mortgage rates and solid job gains,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “While feedback from Realtors continues to suggest healthy levels of buyer interest, available listings that are move-in ready and in affordable price ranges remain hard to come by for many would-be buyers.”
Regional Pending Home Sales Data via NAR
The PHSI in the Northeast decreased 3.0% to 91.8 in November, but is still 4.3% above a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 1.0% to 104.9 in November, and is now 4.1% above November 2014.
“Especially with mortgage rates likely on the rise, affordability issues could creep up enough to temper sales growth – especially to first-time buyers in higher priced markets,” Yun added.
Pending home sales in the South increased 1.3% to an index of 119.9 in November and are 0.5% higher than last November. The index in the West declined 5.5 percent in November to 100.4, but remains 4.5% above a year ago.