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OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Daily Real Estate News  |  November 1, 2006  |   Pending Home Sales Down Slightly in September
Home sales are expected to hold fairly steady in the months ahead, according to the latest reading on pending home sales published by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSŪ.

The Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in September, slipped 1.1 percent to a level of 109.1, following a 4.7 percent gain in August. The index remains 13.6 percent below September 2005.

The index shows home sales will not be moving much in one direction or another, says David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist. “The present level of home sales is relatively high in historic terms, and we can expect generally minor movements around this level,” he says. “We don’t expect to see any changes of note until early next year when we’re likely to see a modest lift.”

The market currently is a little lower than expected as buyers try to time their entry, Lereah adds. “In the meantime, there’s some build-up in demand that will move when consumers realize that conditions are optimal for them.”

The index is derived from pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed and the transaction has not closed; pending sales typically are finalized within one or two months of signing.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, the first year to be examined and the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales. There is a closer relationship between annual changes in the index and year-ago changes in sales performance than with month-to-month comparisons.

Regionally, the Pending Home Sales Index in the Midwest rose 2.1 percent in September to 96.4 but was 18.4 percent below September 2005. The index in the West slipped 0.4 percent to 112.5 in September and was 15.2 percent below a year ago. In the South, the index eased 1.3 percent in September to 125.0 and was 9.0 percent below September 2005. The index in the Northeast fell 5.9 percent to 89.9 in September and was 15.9 percent lower than a year earlier.

— REALTORŪ Magazine Online

For more housing market statistics and research reports, visit NAR's Research Department at REALTOR.org.

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