NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that December’s pending home sales pace increased 2.5% last month but fell 33.8% from a year ago.
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 of the four regions showed double-digit declines from a year ago. The West had the largest dip of 37.5%, followed by the South with a drop in contract signings of 34.5%. The Northeast fell 32.5%, followed by the Midwest, with the smallest decline of 30.1%.
From last month, two of the four regions showed increases in contract signings. The West region had the largest gain of 6.4%, followed by the South with an increase of 6.1%. The Northeast had the largest dip of 6.5%, followed by the Midwest, with a modest decrease of 0.3%.
The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month of December was 76.9. November’s pending sales figures were revised to 75.0.
December’s contract signings bring the pending index below the 100-level mark for the ninth consecutive month.
The 100 level is based on a 2001 benchmark and is consistent with existing-home sales above the 5 million mark.