Economists' Outlook

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24 Percent of Contracts in December 2016—February 2017 Had a Delayed Settlement

In the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, the National Association of REALTORS® asks membersIn the past three months, think of your most recent sales contract that was either settled/closed or terminated. Please explain how the deal concluded (settled, delayed, terminated, sale is pending, no contract signed).”

Among contracts that went into settlement or were terminated over the period December 2016–February 2017, 24 percent had a delayed settlement, according to the February 2017 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey Report, a monthly survey of REALTORS® about their sales activity and local market conditions.[1]

how contracts

Among contracts that had a delayed settlement (24 percent), 36 percent faced issues related to obtaining financing and 20 percent had appraisal issues. Regarding appraisal issues, respondents reported facing appraisal delays due to a shortage of appraisers, valuations that are not in line with market conditions, and “out-of-town” appraisers who are not familiar with local conditions. In NAR’s Survey of Mortgage Originators, 55 percent who took part in the survey reported some level of issues getting appraisals.[2] Other specific issues that led to delays involved titling, sale contingencies, problems related to distressed sales, home/hazard/flood insurance issues, and the buyer losing a job.

 Among contracts that were terminated (five percent), 30 percent faced issues related to home inspections and 22 percent had issues related to the buyer’s ability to obtain financing.


[1]The author thanks Danielle Hale, Managing Director, Housing Research; Meredith Dunn, Research Communications Manager; and Amanda Riggs, Research Survey Analyst for their comments. Any errors are attributable to the author.

[2] Ken Fears, 2016 Survey of Mortgage Originators, Fourth Quarter, Economists Outlook Blog. See

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