Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

September 2020 Pending Home Sales

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that September's pending home sales pace declined 2.2 last month but rose substantially 20.5% from a year ago. This would be the fifth consecutive month of gains as well as the fourth year over year incline since the virus's impact on the housing market.

Bar chart: Pending Home Sales Index, September 2019 to September 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 four regions showed double inclines from a year ago. The Northeast had the biggest gain in contract signings of 27.7% followed by the South with an increase of 19.6%. The South had an incline of 19.6% followed by the Midwest with the smallest gain of 18.5%.

Bar chart: September US and Regional Pending Sales, 2020 and 2019

From last month, three of the four regions showed declines in contract signings, with only the Northeast having a gain of 2.0%. The West fell 2.6% followed by the South with a drop of 3.0%. The Midwest had the biggest dip in contract signings of 3.2%.  

The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 130.0.

September's incline brings the pending index above the 100-level mark for the fourth consecutive month since February 2020.

Line graph: Pending Home Sales Index by Region, January 2019 to September 2020

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.