Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

May 2021 Pending Home Sales Rebound 8% in May

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that May's pending home sales pace inclined 8.0% last month and rose 13.1% from a year ago. With inventory slightly increasing, a few more options are available to potential home buyers.

Bar chart: Pending Home Sales Index, May 2020 to May 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 1 to 2 months.

All four regions showed double digit gains from a year ago. The Northeast had the largest incline of 54.6%, followed by West with a gain in contract signings of 12.5%. The Midwest had an increase of 7.8%, followed by the South with the smallest gain of 6.1%.

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

From last month, all four regions showed gains in contract signings. The Northeast had the largest increase of 15.5%, followed by the West which had an increase of 10.9%. The Midwest had a gain of 6.7%, followed by the South smallest increase of 4.9%.

The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 114.7.

May's contract signings bring the pending index above the 100-level mark for the 13-consecutive month.

Line graph: U.S. and Regional Pending Home Sales Index, February 2019 to May 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.

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