The Housing Chronicles Blog: Bargain hunters help push up pending sales index

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bargain hunters help push up pending sales index

It looks like prices have dropped enough in certain markets that bargain hunters are re-emerging, raising pending sales during April by 6.3% from the previous month. In the West, the news is even better: pending sales up by 8.3% from March and by 4.0% from April of 2007. From a Wall Street Journal story:

A forecasting gauge of home sales climbed to its highest level in six months during April, given a lift by bargain hunters.

The National Association of Realtors' index for pending sales of previously owned homes rose 6.3% to 88.2 from March, the industry group said Monday...

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said pending sales contracts picked up in areas where housing prices have dropped significantly.

"Bargain hunters have entered the market en masse, especially in areas that have experienced double-digit price declines, but it's unclear if they are investors or owner-occupants," he said.

In its monthly forecast on the industry, the NAR projected existing-home sales at 5.40 million this year and 5.74 million in 2009. That compares with 5.65 million in 2007.

The median price for an existing home is seen at $205,000 in 2008 and $213,900 in 2009. It was $218,900 in 2007.

A month ago, the NAR forecast 2008 sales at 5.39 million and 2009 sales at 5.72 million. The 2008 median price was projected at $213,700 and the 2009 price at $222,600.

The NAR pending sales index, based on signed contracts for previously owned homes, was 13.1% below the level of 101.5 in April 2007...

By region, pending sales in the Northeast decreased 1.9% in April from March; they had fallen 12.2% since April 2007. The Midwest rose 13.0% in April from March; it had dropped 13.1% since April 2007. The South increased 4.6% in April from March; it had fallen 22.5% since April 2007. The West increased 8.3% in April from March; it has gone up 4.0% since April 2007.

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