Pending U.S. Home Sales Decline as Inventory Rises

It was too hot not to cool down. 

That’s just what’s starting to happen for the U.S. real estate market, which has seen some of its most active years ever in 2020 and 2021. But with rising interest rates, inflation and the stock market slipping, buyers are bowing out. 

Pending home sales have dropped for six months in a row, falling another 3.9% month over month in April, according to a report Thursday from the National Association of Realtors. 

“Pending contracts are telling, as they better reflect the timelier impact from higher mortgage rates than do closings,” Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement. “The latest contract signings mark six consecutive months of declines and [contracts] are at the slowest pace in nearly a decade.”

Of the four U.S. regions, only the Midwest registered a month-over-month increase in signings in April, 6.6%, but saw a 2.8% decline compared to the same time last year. Deals in the Northeast were down 16.2% compared to March, and 14.3% compared to April 2021, while the South saw pending deals drop 4.7% last month and 10.3% annually. The West saw a 4.3% drop in April and a 10.5% year-over-year decrease.

Mr. Yun predicted existing-home sales could drop up to 9% in 2022.

Meanwhile, the inventory gap is closing, according to a separate report Thursday from Realtor.com

The number of homes for sale jumped 9% year-over-year for the week ending Saturday, the data showed. New listings were up 6% annually. 

“The real estate refresh continues, building on the past two weeks of momentum with active listings’ biggest year-over-year jump in our data history. And as the number of new sellers also keeps rising, last week’s data suggests that more increases may be ahead,” Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist, said in the report. “Recent inventory improvements are expected to eventually tip market conditions in a buyer-friendly direction, and one we expect to provide relief from surging asking prices later in the year.”

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