US Pending Home Sales
Spring is the time for gardening, house cleaning, a change of wardrobe and home buying. But the normally reliable surge in home sales in the second quarter as warmer weather encourages buyers will probably not happen this year as fewer buyers signed purchase agreements in February.
Pending home sales fell 0.4% from January, according to the National Association of Realtors, a bit below the -0.2% forecast. March completed home purchases, as tracked by existing home sales, will probably remain about where they were in the first two months of the year at just under 5.0 million annualized units.
Most home purchases close within two months of the contract date, and a drop in signed contracts indicates fewer potential completed sales. Pending sales also includes a percentage of scheduled sales that never take place, most often because the buyer was unable to find financing.
January pending sales were revised lower to 3.8% from 4.5%. The rise in pending home sales in January did not result in a concomitant rise in existing home sales in February. Existing home sales rose only 0.8% in February to 4.98 million annually. Yearly pending home sales were 5.0% higher in February, just about half the downwardly revised 9.6% annual increase in January. The March existing home sales will be released on April 22nd.
Mortgage applications rose 7.7% in the week of March 22nd, the first gain in three weeks and just the fifth positive week of the last twelve.
Chief Market Strategist