Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Pending Sales Decline in August 2023 to the Lowest Since April 2020

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that August's pending home sales pace declined 7.1% from last month and fell 18.7% from a year ago.

Bar graph: Pending Home Sales Index, August 2022 to August 2023

Pending sales represent homes with a signed contract to purchase but have yet to close. They tend to lead existing-home sales data by 1 to 2 months.

All four regions showed double-digit declines from a year ago. The West had the most significant dip of 21.4%, followed by the Midwest with a drop in contract signings of 19.1%. The Northeast fell 18.2%, followed by the South with the smallest decline of 17.6%.

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

From last month, all four regions showed declines in contract signings. The South region had the biggest dip in contracts, 9.1%, followed by the West, which fell 7.7%. The Midwest decreased 7.0%, followed by the Northeast with the smallest drop of 0.9%.

The U.S. pending home sales index level for August was 71.8. July’s pending sales figures were revised to 77.3.

August’s contract signings bring the pending index below the 100-level mark for the seventeenth 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: U.S. and Regional Pending Home Sales Index, January 2019 to August 2023