Pending Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Increased 1.5% in September

Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes increased in September for a second month in the last three, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday in Washington, signaling strong job growth and rising wages are supporting housing demand.

Key Points

  • Pending home sales rose 1.5 percent (median estimate was for 1 percent gain) after a revised 2.5 percent decline in August
  • Seasonally adjusted index climbed to 110 from 108.4
  • Contract signings were up 2 percent from September 2015 on an unadjusted basis

Big Picture

The gain comes on the heels of reports showing increases last month in sales of both previously owned and new residences. The Realtor group said a paucity of listings is keeping prices relatively high and making searching by interested buyers more difficult. At the same time, historically-low borrowing rates and solid hiring continue to support purchases for those looking to trade up.

Economist Takeaways

“Although depressed inventory levels are keeping home prices elevated in most of the country, steady job gains and growing evidence that wages are finally starting to tick up are encouraging more households to consider buying a home,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement.

Other Details

  • Pending sales were led by a 4.7 percent increase in the West and a 1.9 percent gain in the South
  • Purchase contracts fell in the Northeast and Midwest
  • Index of pending sales remains below 10-year high of 115 reached in April
    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.