Pending home sales decreased in June, following a slight increase in May, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. All four major regions posted month-over-month and year-over-year pullbacks, the largest of which occurred in the West.
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI),* www.nar.realtor/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, dipped 8.6% to 91.0 in June. Year-over-year, transactions shrank 20.0%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
"Contract signings to buy a home will keep tumbling down as long as mortgage rates keep climbing, as has happened this year to date," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "There are indications that mortgage rates may be topping or very close to a cyclical high in July. If so, pending contracts should also begin to stabilize."
According to NAR, buying a home in June was about 80% more expensive than in June 2019. Nearly a quarter of buyers who purchased a home three years ago would be unable to do so now because they no longer earn the qualifying income to buy a median-priced home today.
"Home sales will be down by 13% in 2022, according to our latest projection," Yun added. "With mortgage rates expected to stabilize near 6% and steady job creation, home sales should start to rise by early 2023."
June Pending Home Sales Regional Breakdown
The Northeast PHSI slid 6.7% compared to last month to 80.9, down 17.6% from June 2021. The Midwest index dropped 3.8% to 93.7 in June, a 13.4% decline from a year ago.
The South PHSI slipped 8.9% to 108.3 in June, a decrease of 19.2% from the previous year. The West index slumped 15.9% in June to 68.7, down 30.9% from June 2021.
The National Association of REALTORS® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.
Pending contracts are good early indicators of upcoming sales closings. However, the amount of time between pending contracts and completed sales is not identical for all home sales. Variations in the length of the process from pending contract to closed sale can be caused by issues such as buyer difficulties with obtaining mortgage financing, home inspection problems, or appraisal issues.
The index is based on a sample that covers about 40% of multiple listing service data each month. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.
NOTE: Existing-Home Sales for July will be reported on August 18. The next Pending Home Sales Index will be on August 24. All release times are 10 a.m. Eastern.