Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

May 2020 Pending Home Sales

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that May’s pending home sales pace rose 44.3% last month and fell 5.1% from a year ago. Even with the declines, pending sales bounced back from the prior two months.

Bar graph: Pending Home Sales Index May 2019 to May 2020

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 three regions showed declines from a year ago, while the South index rose 1.9%. The Northeast had the biggest decline in contract signings of 33.2% followed by the West with a drip of 2.5%. The Midwest had the smallest decline of 1.4%.

From last month, all four regions showed double-digit gains in contract signings. The West had the biggest increase of 56.2% followed by the Northeast with an incline of 44.4%. The South rose 43.3% followed by the Midwest with the smallest gain in signings of 37.2%.

The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 99.6.

Bar graph: May US and Regional Pending Sales in 2020 and 2019

May’s decline brings the pending index below the 100-level mark for the third consecutive month.

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.