Contract Signings Post a Sharp Rise as Buyers Return

“The housing market is off to a good start this year,” says NAR’s chief economist.
Three people in conversation while visiting a home.

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Real estate pros likely will see more sales this year, as the end of 2023 may have set the stage for kicking off brighter days ahead for the housing market for 2024. Pending home sales posted an 8.3% increase in December. Pending sales are picking up a stronger pace than a year earlier, too, up 1.3% annually, shows the National Association of REALTORS®’ Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings.

NAR’s latest report also follows on the heels of the latest new-home sales data, which also posted an 8% jump in December.

“The housing market is off to a good start this year, as consumers benefit from falling mortgage rates and stable home prices,” says NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Job additions and income growth will further help with housing affordability, but increased supply will be essential to satisfying all potential demand.”

Sales Outlook Looks Rosey

NAR is forecasting a 13% increase in existing-home sales this year compared to 2023. That rising trend is also expected to continue into 2025, with NAR forecasting another 15.8% uptick compared to 2024.

“Home sales are projected to rise significantly in each of the next two years as the market steadily returns to normal sales activity,” Yun says.

Home prices are expected to remain strong as well. The annual median home price is predicted to increase by 1.4%, reaching $395,100 for 2024, and then rise by another 2.6% in 2025 to $405,200.

The improving housing numbers are fueling more hope that the real estate market is, indeed, poised for a turnaround this year, after a mostly sluggish 2023. The NAR Economists’ Outlook blog recently showed the progress from the end of 2023 in comparing it to 1995 to show where the real estate market stands.  

NAR then and now chart

Regional Look

Contract signings rose the most in the Midwest, South and West last month, while the Northeast recorded a loss, NAR’s latest pending sales data shows.

US map showing regional pending-home sales data.