The National Association of Realtor’s Pending Home Sales Index measures contract signings and is an indicator of future existing-home sales. In September, the index was up 0.3 percent over August and 14.5 percent above last year’s level. It was the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year improvement. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said home contract activity remains at an elevated level when compared to recent years and should continue its upward trend in 2013. Pending home sales were up in every region of the country and are showing double-digit increases over last year in the Northeast, South, and Midwest. According to the NAR, existing-home sales should close 2012 at 4.6 million, which is an increase of 9.0 percent over 2011. More here and here.
The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index is a forward-looking indicator that measures the number of signed contracts that occur each month. In July, the index rose 2.4 percent, reaching a two-year high and climbing 12.4 percent over year-before levels. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the index is now at its highest level since April 2010 and, though month-to-month movement has been uneven, there have been 15 consecutive months of year-over-year gains in contract activity. Regionally, pending sales were up across the country, with double-digit improvements in the Northeast, Midwest, and South over last year’s estimates. The NAR projects existing-home sales will rise between 8.0 and 9.0 percent this year, with an additional 7.0 or 8.0 percent improvement in 2013. More here and here.
The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index is a measure of builders’ perception of the market for newly built, single-family homes on a scale where any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor. In August, builder confidence rose two points to 37, reaching its highest level since February 2007. Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the NAHB, said builders see current sales conditions, sales prospects for the next six months, and traffic of prospective buyers as better than they’ve been in more than five years. According to Rutenberg, the outlook appears to be brightening after the depths of the recession. The gains marked the fourth consecutive month of improvement for the index. Regionally, three-month moving averages show the Midwest up five points, and the South and West both gaining three points. More here.
According to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales were down 1.4 percent in June but remain 9.5 percent above last year’s levels. The Pending Home Sales Index came in at 99.3 in June, down from 100.7 in May. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said buyer demand is strong but fewer available homes in the lower price ranges popular with first-time buyers and investors have lead to fewer contract signing opportunities. Pending home sales reflect contract signings but not closings. Regionally, pending sales were down in the Northeast, Midwest, and South but climbed 2.6 percent in the West. According to Yun, there have been delays in the closing process due to a surge in refinancing and a higher level of home purchases. More here and here.
Though builder confidence rose just one point in June, it is now at its highest level since May of 2007. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index measures builders’ perceptions of the market for newly built, single-family homes on a scale where any number above 50 indicates that more builders view market conditions as good than poor. In June, the index reached 29. Barry Rutenberg, NAHB’s chairman, said the month’s modest uptick comes after a four point increase in May and is reflective of the continued, gradual improvement in many individual housing markets. The component measuring current sales conditions was up two points in June, while gauges of traffic and expectations for the next six months were unchanged. Regionally, the Midwest and West each posted significant gains. The South and Northeast each lost two points from the previous month. More here and here.
Gallup’s Job Creation Index rose another two points in April, increasing to 20 from 18 in March. The index, which began tracking job growth in January 2008, is at its highest level since July of that year and is approaching the highest score ever recorded by the index. Regionally, the Midwest and South led in job creation, with the West and East close behind. The West led all regions in year-over-year improvement, rising nine points from a year ago. Gallup’s survey also found that private-sector job growth continues to perform better than government employment. The Job Creation Index for the private sector was at 25 in April, while government job growth has been in negative territory since late last year. More here.
According to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales rose 4.1 percent in March and are 12.8 percent above year-before levels. Pending sales, which reflect contract signings but not closings, are now at their highest level since April 2010. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said first-quarter sales data shows that it was the best first quarter in five years and, based on contract signings, the second quarter should be equally good. Regionally, pending sales were highest in the West and the South. The South was up 5.9 percent from February and the West rose 8.7 percent. All regions increased from last year, with the Midwest up 16.9 percent and the Northeast 21.1 percent above March 2011. According to Yun, 2012 will be a year of recovery for the housing market. More here.
The results of Clear Capital’s most recent home price forecast calls for national values to rise slightly over the next three months and to end the year with a growth rate of 1.2 percent. According to their data, home prices were down 1.4 percent year-over-year in March, which is an improvement over February’s 1.9 percent decline. In addition to improving rates of decline, Clear Capital calls for price growth across all four regions of the country by year’s end. Regionally, only the Midwest is expected to suffer price declines over the next three months and, by the end of the year, Clear Capital’s forecast sees a 0.7 percent increase. The Northeast, South, and West are all expected to see slight increases over the next three months and end the year up between one and two percent. More here.
The National Association of Realtors Housing Affordability Index reached a record high in 2011. The index, which began in 1970, measures the relationship between median home price, median family income, and average mortgage interest rate. The index defines 100 as the point where a median-income household has exactly enough income to qualify to purchase a median-priced home. In 2011, the index reached 184.5. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the Midwest and South have the greatest concentration of areas where home buyers have the strongest purchasing power. According to Yun, the West Coast and Northeastern Seaboard have higher-priced homes which accounts for lower affordability ratings. More here.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index measures builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes. In January, the index rose for the fourth consecutive month and reached its highest level since June 2007. Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said the latest improvements to builder confidence reached every component and region and comes on the heels of several months of gains in single-family housing starts and sales. According to Nielsen, a gradual but steady improvement is beginning to take hold in an increasing number of housing markets nationwide. Component indexes measuring current sales conditions, expectations for the next six months, and traffic of prospective buyers all improved in January. Among regions, the West saw a five point gain while the Northeast index rose by nine points. The South gained two points and the Midwest posted a one point gain over December’s level. More here.