US pending home sales rebound but still lagging

Pending home sales in the United States gained in June following four months of decline, but they remain below the levels seen in 2017.

The National Association of Realtors reports that its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contract signings, was up 0.9% in June to a 106.9 reading, but that is 2.5% below June 2017.

Despite rising home prices and mortgage rates, the index’s increase was facilitated by strong economic conditions and an uptick in inventory, but there is still a stubborn supply issue.

“Even with slightly more homeowners putting their home on the market, inventory is still subpar and not meeting demand. As a result, affordability constraints are pricing out some would-be buyers and keeping overall sales activity below last year’s pace,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Yun now forecasts for existing-home sales in 2018 to decrease 1.0% to 5.46 million – down from 5.51 million in 2017. The national median existing-home price is expected to increase around 5.0%. In 2017, existing sales increased 1.1% and prices rose 5.7%.

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