Pending home sales recorded no change in April, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Three U.S. regions posted monthly gains, while the Northeast decreased. All four regions saw year-over-year declines in transactions.
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* – a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings – remained at 78.9 in April, posting no change from the previous month. Year over year, pending transactions dropped by 20.3%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
"Not all buying interests are being completed due to limited inventory," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Affordability challenges certainly remain and continue to hold back contract signings, but a sizeable increase in housing inventory will be critical to get more Americans moving."
Pending Home Sales Regional Breakdown
The Northeast PHSI dropped 11.3% from last month to 59.1, a decrease of 21.8% from April 2022. The Midwest index improved 3.6% to 78.4 in April, down 21.4% from one year ago.
The South PHSI increased 0.1% to 99.6 in April, sinking 16.7% from the prior year. The West index augmented 4.7% in April to 62.2, sliding 26.0% from April 2022.
"Minor monthly variations in regional activity are typical," said Yun. "However, cumulative results over many years clearly point towards a much greater number of home sales in the South."
At 99.6, the PHSI in the South is only slightly lower than 100, which is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, the first year NAR analyzed the PHSI.
"The South's pending home sales activity is similar to that of 2001, but the Midwest's activity has decreased by 22% in that same period, and the Northeast and West regions are both about 40% lower than they were in 2001," Yun added.
*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 May will be reported on June 22. The next Pending Home Sales Index will be on June 29. All release times are 10 a.m. Eastern. View the NAR Statistical News Release Schedule.