Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

August 2020 Pending Home Sales

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data. The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 132.8.  August’s pending home sales pace increased 8.8% last month and jumped 24.2% from a year ago. This would be the fourth consecutive month of gains as well as the third year over year incline since the virus’s impact on the housing market.  August’s increase brings the pending index above the 100-level mark for the third consecutive month since February 2020.

Bar chart: Pending Home Sales Index, August 2019 to August 2020

From last month, all four regions showed gains in contract signings. The West had the biggest increase of 13.1%. The Midwest and the South both had an increase of 8.6%.  The Northeast had the smallest gain in contract signings of 4.3%.

Line graph: Pending Home Sales by Region, January 2019 to August 2020

All four regions showed double inclines from a year ago. The Northeast had the biggest gain in contract signings of 26.0% followed by the Midwest with an increase of 25.0%. The South and the West both shared the smallest gain of 23.6%.

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

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.

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.