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Pending home sales remain steady

Pending home sales nationwide increased by 0.2 percent in November from October, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors.

The association’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator measuring signed contracts on existing home sales where a property has not yet closed, was 101.7 nationwide, up slightly from 101.5 in October. However, the index declined 1.6 percent year-over-year from 103.3 in November 2012.

“Although the final months of 2013 are finishing on a soft note, the year as a whole will end with the best sales in seven years,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. Yun expects contract activity in 2014 to remain stable, based on factors like job creation and household formation.

The pending sales data regionally were mixed in November, showing growth in the South and West and declines in the Midwest and Northeast. In the South, pending sales activity rose 2.3 percent in November month-over-month, to an index of 116.1. The rate in the South increased 0.1 percent from November 2012.

In the association’s analysis, an index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity that occurred in 2001, the first year the organization started tracking the information.

In the Midwest, the index fell 3.1 percent to 100.6 in November from the previous month, but it was 0.4 higher than a year ago. The index in the West increased 1.8 percent in November to 95.0, but it is 8.7 percent below November 2012. For the Northeast, the index declined 2.7 percent to 82.6 in November, but is 1.9 percent above a year ago.

Looking ahead, the NAR report projected that total existing-home sales for 2013 will reach 5.1 million, a figure that includes single-family homes, co-ops and condos. That is a gain of 9.6 percent since 2012. The report predicts that growth will remain flat for 2014 and then rise to 5.3 million in 2015.

For the year, the national median existing-home sale price is $197,300, up from $176,800 for 2012, or almost 12 percent. The NAR predicts that in 2014, the national median existing-home sale price will increase between 5 and 5.5 percent, to $207,800.




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