Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pending home sales post solid gains two months in a row

There are signs that housing is coming off a second bottom as pending existing home sales rose a very strong 7.3 percent in November on top of October's 10.4 percent gain. Regionally, November's gains were led by the West and include the Northeast and Midwest with the South showing no change. November and October taken together show solid gains for all regions. The index is at its highest level since April 2010.

Recent sales increases have been helped by lower mortgage rates and lower home prices along with a somewhat improved jobs picture.

There is some speculation that the pending sales data are getting a boost, and are likely to continue to get a boost, from re-signings by homebuyers who had prior contracts voided for technical reasons such as missing deadlines due to financing snags. There have been reports that the failure rate of contracts (not going to closing) has risen significantly due to tighter lending standards.
Source: Barron's Online 1/3/2012