Pending home sales, a leading indicator for the housing sector, eased slightly but is at the second highest level on record, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* based on contracts signed in September, slipped 0.3 percent to a reading of 128.8 from a record of 129.2 in August, and is 3.3 percent higher than September 2004. The index is derived from pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed; pending home sales typically are finalized within one or two months of signing.
David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said the index shows a lot of momentum. “We’re still seeing a post-Katrina boost in home sales activity, where the needs of displaced residents are supplementing a fundamentally strong market,” he said. “Aside from this temporary lift, the market is entering a period of transition in which we will see a somewhat slower but more sustainable pace of home sales–a period that is expected to be historically healthy. This will help to create a better balance between home buyer and sellers, so price appreciation should be cooler as well.”
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