July 14, 2024

home sales

The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements fell 16 percent from October to a November reading of 96. It was the first decline following nine straight months of gains and the lowest reading since June.  The drop was far larger than the 2 percent expected from economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters, and analysts were surprised.  “This was bound to happen at some point, although not by this much,” wrote a startled Jennifer Lee, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets. “Gulp,” she added.  “It will be at least early spring before we see notable gains in sales activity as homebuyers respond to the recently extended and expanded tax credit,” Lawrence Yun, the Realtors’ chief economist, said in a statement.

Typically there is a one- to two-month lag between a contract and a done deal, so the index is a barometer of future sales. Pending sales were down 26 percent from October in the Northeast and Midwest, 15 percent in the South and 3 percent in the West.  “This sudden drop risks the stability housing markets have enjoyed in recent months,” wrote Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.                                                                     Del Mar California real estate