Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

March 2021 Pending Home Sales Rebound After Two Months of Declines

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that March's pending home sales pace increased 1.9% last month and jumped 23.3% from a year ago.

Bar chart: Pending Home Sales Index, March 2020 to March 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 one to two months.

All four regions showed double-digit gains from a year ago. The West had the largest increase of 29.8% followed by the South with a gain in contract signings of 27.9%. The Northeast had an increase of 16.7% followed by the Midwest with the smallest gain of 14.1%.

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

From last month, all regions showed increases in contract signings except the Midwest, which had a decline of 3.7%. The Northeast led all regions with the largest rise of 6.1% followed by the South and the West, which both shared an increase of 2.9%.  

The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 111.3.

March's contract signings bring the pending index above the 100-level mark for the 11th consecutive month.

Line graph: Pending Home Sales Index, January 2019 to March 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.