The National Association of REALTORS reported Wednesday that pending sales of existing homes fell by 1.30 percent in July.
According to the organization's Pending Home Sales Index, this was the second straight month that pending home sales dropped. July's Pending Home Sales Index reading was 109.50.
Signed Purchase Contracts For Existing Homes Tracked In The U.S.
- ·Northeast: – 6.60 percent
- ·Midwest: – 1.00 percent
- ·West: – 4.90 percent
- ·South: + 2.60 percent
Pending home sales were 6.70 percent higher year-over-year on a national basis. This indicates that the housing recovery is progressing, but at a slower pace.
Short supplies of available homes have also impacted sales. In some areas homebuyers are facing competition from multiple buyers for individual homes.
Another report released earlier in the week showed that the pace of rising home prices also slowed. This connects with fewer pending home sales, as when demand for homes cools, prices are likely to fall as well.
Pending home sales serve as an indicator for future home sales, as purchase contracts typically lead to completed home sales within two to three months.
Housing Market Developments Could Delay Fed Stimulus Decision
The Federal Reserve has indicated that it may begin reducing its stimulus program of buying $85 billion per month in U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities.
The Fed has repeatedly stated that continued monitoring of economic trends would weigh heavily on its decision if and when to modify its current stimulus program.
Mortgage rates have risen more than a percentage point since May when the Fed began discussing potentially “tapering” its monthly bond purchases.
The Fed may interpret the slower pace of rising home prices and pending home sales as a sign that it's not yet time to reduce its stimulus program. This could help with lowering mortgage rates, which are expected to rise when the Fed reduces its monthly securities purchases and eventually ends its stimulus plan.
Housing has led the economic recovery; faltering indicators in the housing sector suggest that the overall recovery is a fragile process.