U.S. Pending Home Sales Increase Moderately, NAR Says

By Amina Niasse

(Reuters) – Pending U.S. home sales rose 1.6 percent in February, boosted by modest increases in inventory and job gains, according to a report released on Thursday.

The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) pending home sales index rose 1.6% to 75.6 from a revised 74.4 the month before. Economists had expected an increase of 1.5%, according to a Reuters survey.

On an annual basis, pending home sales fell 7% in February.

“The high-cost regions of the Northeast and West experienced setbacks due to affordability issues,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “House prices rising faster than income growth are not healthy and add difficulties for first-time buyers. »

Contracts on pending homes have fallen in 2023 as potential buyers face reduced inventory and higher mortgage rates in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike campaign. While the average 30-year fixed rate eased from its highest level in two decades in October – falling to 6.87% for the week ended March 21, according to Freddie Mac – foot traffic in the market of existing housing is expected to intensify as inventory builds. recovers, according to the NAR.

On a monthly basis, the Midwest saw the largest growth in pending sales in February, at 10.6%. Year over year, all regions saw a decline in pending home sales.

(Reporting by Amina Niasse; editing by Andrea Ricci)

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