The Housing Chronicles Blog: Most of those pending sales? Still driven by foreclosures.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Most of those pending sales? Still driven by foreclosures.

Although the recent uptick in pending home sales is good sign for the housing market and overall economy, our sources at Credit Suisse indicate that it's still largely due to the end of the temporary moratorium on foreclosures and lower mortgage rates. Over the last several months, foreclosures have accounted for 50% (and rising) of overall home sales, which means a declining portion of sales for market-rate home sales. The largest gains were noted in the South and West, which is also where we've seen the largest percentage of distressed home sales. In the Northeast and Midwest, pending sales fell by single digits.

The reliance on discounted sales also puts continued pressure on new home sales, especially as the total volume of foreclosures continues to rise. Given the price premium for new homes in many places, the pace of new home sales will pick up only in those areas in which the supply of decent foreclosures has waned.

Looking ahead to future data releases, existing home sales should also continue to rise to an annualized rate of about 4.75 million.

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