Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Pending Home Sales Weakened in May

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that May's pending home sales pace declined 2.7% from last month and fell 22.2% from a year ago.

Bar graph: Pending Home Sales, May 2022 to May 2023

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 of the U.S. showed double-digit declines from a year ago. The West had the largest dip of 26.6%, followed by the Midwest with a drop in contract signings of 23.5%. The Northeast fell 21.9% followed by the South with the smallest decline of 19.6%.

Bar graph: May U.S. and Regional Pending Sales, 2023 and 2022

From last month, three of the four regions showed declines in contract signings. The Northeast region had the only increase, of 12.9%. The West had the largest decline, of 6.1%, followed by the Midwest, with a decrease of 5.3%. The South had the smallest drop, of 4.4%.

The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month of May was 76.5. April's pending sales figures were revised to 78.6.

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

The 100 level is based on a 2001 benchmark and is consistent with existing home sales above the 5 million mark.

Line graph: Pending Home Sales Index, January 2019 to May 2023