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U.S. pending home sales rebound to a seven-month high in August

3 months ago 14

A gauge of U.S. pending home sales rebounded in August to a seven-month high as prospective buyers welcomed more attractive pricing and additional inventory.

The National Association of Realtors’ index of pending home sales increased 8.1% from a month earlier to 119.5, the first advance in three months, according to data released Wednesday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 1.4% advance.

The figures suggest housing activity is firming after retreating from the record-high levels seen last year. Historically low borrowing rates, slower price appreciation and more available properties could rejuvenate demand that has softened this year.

“Rising inventory and moderating price conditions are bringing buyers back to the market,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Affordability, however, remains challenging as home price gains are roughly three times wage growth.”

Contract signings increased across all four regions, led by gains in the Midwest and South that were the biggest since June 2020.

Compared with a year earlier, contract signings were down 6.3% on an unadjusted basis.

A separate report last week showed that sales of previously owned U.S. homes settled back in August as high home prices and lean inventories moderated demand. The pending home sales is often seen as a leading indicator of existing home sales given homes typically go under contract a month or two before they’re sold.

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