"Some improvement is projected for existing-home sales in the months ahead, with broader gains seen by the fourth quarter as buyers take advantage of new provisions provided through the recently passed housing stimulus bill, according to the latest forecast by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in June, rose 5.3 percent to 89.0 from a downwardly revised reading of 84.5 in May, but remains 12.3 percent below June 2007 when it stood at 101.4.
In the West: rose 4.6 percent to 101.0 in June but remains 1.7 percent below a year ago
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales have been in a pattern of rising and falling within a fairly narrow range.
“The vacillation of data from one month to the next indicates a housing market in transition,” he says. “The rise in pending home sales was broad-based with all four regions showing gains. This is welcome news because a rise in contract activity is necessary for an overall housing recovery. With a tax credit now available to first-time home buyers, increases in home sales could be sustained with the momentum carrying into 2009.”
Across the Region
Here's a deeper look at the index throughout the country:
- South: jumped 9.3 percent to 92.4 in June but is 16.6 percent below June 2007.
- West: rose 4.6 percent to 101.0 in June but remains 1.7 percent below a year ago.
- Northeast: increased 3.4 percent to 79.6 but is 15.4 percent below June 2007.
- Midwest: rose 1.3 percent in June to 79.6 but is 13.3 percent below a year ago."