Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

April 2021 Pending Home Sales Dip With Fewer Homes Available

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that April's pending home sales pace declined 4.4% last month and spiked 51.7% from a year ago. A year ago, the pandemic had hit the housing market and home owners were less likely to open their doors to show their property. A lot of Americans also decided to stay home and search online with virtual showings becoming the preference for looking for a home.

Bar chart: Pending Home Sales Index, April 2020 to April 2021

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 gains from a year ago. The Northeast had the largest incline of 96.5%, followed by West with a gain in contract signings of 57.3%. The South had an increase of 45.3%, followed by the Midwest with the smallest gain of 39.4%.

Bar chart: U.S. and Regional Pending Sales, April 2021 and April 2020

From last month, three regions showed declines in contract signings; only the Midwest had an incline of 3.5%. The Northeast had the largest decline of 12.9%, followed by the South, which had a dip of 6.1%. The West had the smallest decline, of 2.6%.   

The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 106.2.

April's contract signings bring the pending index above the 100-level mark for the 12-consecutive month.

Line graph: U.S. and Regional Pending Home Sales Index, January 2019 to April 2021

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.