The National Association of Realtors released January’s Pending Home Sales report this morning, which measures signed purchase contracts as opposed to finalized sales.  As such, it’s considered to be an advance indicator of Existing Home Sales, and that’s generally proven to be the case over time.  It also means the pending sales data can be a bit more volatile.   In today’s data, that volatility expressed itself in the form of the biggest month-over-month decline in 11 months.  The index dropped by 5.7% to a level of 109.5.  December’s level was revised slightly lower from 117.7 to 116.1.   Despite the losses, if we look beyond the post-covid sales surge, current levels are still quite strong in the context of the past 15 years. That’s all well and good for the month of January, but where do we go from here?  First off, the uniqueness of the present housing and mortgage market situations is a required disclaimer at the top of any discussion of the sales outlook.  We’ve often pointed out that, although rising rates do tend to put downward pressure on sales, they don’t singlehandedly derail a strong real estate market. Unfortunately , rising rates are joined by a still-appalling inventory environment as well as an ongoing price surge that continues to create affordability issues across the country.  NAR’s chief economist shared the following comments in today’s release:
Source: Mortgage News Daily