More good housing data
Pending home sales were essentially flat in July, although they remained well ahead of where they were one year ago, a positive sign for the country’s housing market.
Nationwide, pending sales were up only 0.5 percent from June but were up 7.4 percent compared with July 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index.
The index has now risen for 11 straight months, one of several signs that the U.S housing market is on solid footing well into the second half of 2015, said Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist.
“Contract activity in most of the country held steady last month, which bodes well for existing-sales to maintain their recent elevated pace to close out the summer,” Yun said in a statement. “While demand and sales continue to be stronger than earlier this year … available listings in affordable price ranges remain elusive for some buyers trying to reach the market.”
Pending home sales are sales in which a contract has been signed but the transaction has not officially closed, a process that usually takes two to three months.
Typically, pending sales make up about 20 percent of all home sales nationwide, and housing industry officials watch them carefully because they’re considered an accurate indicator of the housing market’s immediate future.
July’s numbers were released Friday.
The national median home price should increase 6.3 percent this year to $221,400, while sales of existing homes are expected to rise 7.1 percent, to nearly 5.3 million units, Yun predicted.