Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

April 2020 Pending Home Sales

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that April’s pending home sales pace dropped 21.8% last month and fell 33.8% from a year ago. This would be the lowest level since January 2001 when NAR began the series.

Bar chart: Pending Home Sales Index: April 2019 to April 2020

Pending sales represent homes that have a signed contract to purchase on them but have yet to close. They tend to lead existing-home sales data by 1 to 2 months.

All four regions showed double-digit declines from a year. The Northeast had the biggest decline in contract signings of 52.6% followed by the West with a drip of 37.2%. These two regions have higher home prices of the four. The South fell 29.6% while the Midwest had the smallest decline of 26.0%.

From last month, all four regions showed drops in contract signings. The Northeast had the biggest dip of 48.2% followed by the West with a decline of 20.0%. The Midwest fell 15.9% followed by the South with the smallest drop in signings of 15.4%.

The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 69.0.

Bar chart: April U.S. and Regional Pending Sales, 2020 and 2019

April’s decline brings the pending index below the 100-level mark after sixteen consecutive months of increases.

The 100 level is based on a 2001 benchmark and is consistent with a healthy market and existing-home sales above the 5 million mark.