Pending Home Sales Start 2018 Lower

The Pending Home Sales Index decreased 4.7% in January to the lowest level since October 2014. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The PHSI fell to 104.6 in January from a downwardly revised 109.8 in December.

The PHSI decreased in all four regions, ranging from 1.2% in the West to 9.0% in the Northeast. Year-over-year, the PHSI also decreased in all four regions, ranging from 1.1% in the South to 12.1% in the Northeast.

NAR reported that listings were 9.5% below the level a year ago. NAR suggested that in addition to new residential construction, relief from the extreme shortage of supply could come from institutional investors dumping single-family homes back into the market and more homeowners deciding to sell. Existing home sales fell 3.2% in January, and new home sales declined 7.8% last month. However, builder confidence remained at a strong level in February. Job growth, increasing homeownership rates and limited inventory will spur continued growth in new residential construction.

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