Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pending Home Sales Highest in Over a Year-and-a-Half

Pending home sales continued to rise in November, reaching their highest level in 19 months, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported late last week.
The trade group’s index of signed sales contracts jumped 7.3 percent between October and November and is 5.9 percent above its level a year earlier. The last time the index was higher was in April 2010 as buyers rushed to beat the deadline for the homebuyer tax credit.
James Frischling, president and co-founder of NewOak Capital, says the latest results are likely to feed the view that there is a recovery going on in the housing market.
“This was an unexpected jump-up, with every region showing gains including a 15 percent increase out west, which has been the hardest hit area since the housing bubble burst,” Frischling noted.
Despite the strong gains atypical of the season, Frischling remains cautious. He says with contract cancellations above 30 percent, Realtors are keenly aware that it’s premature to conclude a housing recovery is underway based on November’s strong pending sales report.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, agrees that contract failures have been running unusually high.

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