US pending home sales dip in November

WASHINGTON: US pending home sales fell for the third time in four months in November as tight supplies and rising home prices kept buyers at bay, an industry report said Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index, based on contract signings, fell 0.9 percent to 106.9 in November from an upwardly revised October reading of 107.9.

Year-over-year pending home sales were up 2.7 percent, the smallest gain since October 2014.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the November decline in contract signings extends a modest slowdown from the year’s peak in May when the index was more than six points higher.

“Home prices rising too sharply in several markets, mixed signs of an economy losing momentum and waning supply levels have acted as headwinds in recent months despite low mortgage rates and solid job gains,” Yun said in a statement.

Buyer demand appears “healthy” for homes in an affordable price range but those are in short supply, he noted.

With existing-housing inventory below year-ago levels and insufficient new-home construction, “it’s likely supply constraints and faster price appreciation will reappear once the spring buying season begins,” he said.

Pending sales were down 5.5 percent in the West and 3.0 percent in the Northeast. Sales in the South and Midwest were up about one percent.

NAR forecasted that existing-home sales would finish 2015 at a pace of around 5.25 million units, the strongest rate since 2006, and the median price would be almost $220,700, up around six percent from 2014.


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