Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Pending Sales in December 2023 Climb as Mortgage Rates Come Down

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that December’s pending home sales rose 8.3% from last month and increased 1.3% from a year ago. This would be the highest since July of 2023.

Bar graph: Pending Home Sales Index, December 2022 to December 2023

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

Three of the four regions showed increases from a year ago. The Northeast region had the only decline of 3.9%. The Midwest had the had the largest gain of 4.3%. The South and the West both shared an incline of 1.5%.

Bar graph: U.S. and Regional December Pending Sales, 2023 and 2022

From last month, three regions showed increases in contract signings. The Northeast had the only decline of 3.0%. The West region had the biggest increase in contracts, 14.0%, followed by the South, which rose 11.9%. The Midwest region had the smallest increase in contracts, 5.6%.

The U.S. pending home sales index level for December was 77.3, which was the highest since July 2023. November’s pending sales figures were revised to 71.4.

December’s contract signings bring the pending index below the 100-level mark for the 21st consecutive month.

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

Line graph: Pending Home Sales Index, January 2019 to December 2023