Cold weather puts the freeze on home sales

by Ryan Smith31 Jan 2014
Pending home sales dropped significantly last month as arctic weather kept many prospective homebuyers indoors. Declining numbers were reported in all four major regions of the country, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index fell 8.7% in December to 92.4. That’s down from a downwardly-revised November number of 101.2 and 8.8% lower that December 2012’s reading of 101.3. Last month’s numbers were at the lowest level since October of 2011, according to the NAR. The index reflects contracts but not closings.

“Unusually disruptive weather across large stretches of the country in December forced people indoors and prevented some buyers from looking at homes or making offers,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Home prices rising faster than income is also giving pause to some potential buyers, while at the same time a lack of inventory means insufficient choice. Although it could take several months for us to get a clearer read on market momentum, job growth and pent-up demand are positive factors.”

In the Northeast, the index dropped 10.3% to 74.1 last month, and is 5.5% below December of 2012. The index fell 6.8% to 93.6 in the Midwest, and is 6.9% lower than a year prior. In the South, pending home sales fell 8.8% last month to an index reading of 104.9. That’s 6.9% lower than December 2012. And in the West, the index dropped 9.8% last month to 85.7, 16% lower than December 2012.


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