The Pending Home Sales Index, an indicator that reflect contracts but not closings, fell 4.3 percent in December. While pending home sales declined last month, they have stayed above year-ago levels for 20 consecutive months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
NAR breaks the index down by region, and noted that the current local variation depends a great deal on available inventory levels.
“Supplies of homes costing less than $100,000 are tight in much of the country, especially in the West, so first-time buyers have fewer options,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “We expect a seasonal rise of inventory in the spring to help, but a seller’s market may be developing. Much of the West is already a seller’s market for homes priced under a million dollars, but conditions are much more balanced in the Northeast.”
Regionally, the pending home sales index
- fell 5.4 percent in the Northeast, but is 8.4 percent higher than it was in December 2011
- rose 0.9 percent in the Midwest, and is 14.4 percent above a year ago
- declined 4.5 percent in the South, but is 10.1 percent higher than in December 2011
- fell 8.2 percent and is 5.3 percent below a year ago in the West.