Economists' Outlook

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More Contracts Signed as Pending Home Sales Rise 8.1% in August 2021

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that August's pending home sales pace increased 8.1% last month but fell 8.3% from a year ago.

Bar chart: Pending Home Sales Index, August 2020 to August 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 declines from a year ago. The Northeast had the largest dip of 15.8%, followed by the West with a drop in contract signings of 9.2%. The South had a decrease of 6.3% followed by the Midwest region, which fell by 5.9%.

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

From last month, all four regions showed gains in contract signings. The Midwest region had the largest gain of 10.4% followed by the South with an increase of 8.6%. The West had an increase of 7.2% followed by the Northeast with the smallest gain of 4.6%.

The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 119.5.

August’s contract signings bring the pending index above the 100-level mark for the 16th consecutive month.

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