Pending home sales inch up

Expect more of the same, as shrinking inventory, tight credit and economic uncertainty continue to dampen demand.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Oct 25, 2012 7:25AM

Sold sign in front of house (© Nick White/Cultura/Getty Images)The number of contracts signed to buy existing homes was about the same in September as it was in August, and home sales are likely to bounce along at the same level for a while.

 

The National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index for September was up 0.3% compared with August and up 14.5% compared with September 2011.

 

"Home contract activity remains at an elevated level in contrast with recent years, but currently appears to be bouncing around in a narrow range," Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist, said in a news release.

 

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"This means only minor movement is likely in near-term existing-home sales, but with positive underlying market fundamentals they should continue on an uptrend in 2013."

While bargain prices have driven investors in particular back into the market, tight credit and economic uncertainty continue to hold down sales to individuals, especially first-time buyers.

A lack of homes for sale, particularly in lower price ranges, also is keeping the number of sales down.

Looking at the numbers by region:

  • Northeast: Pending sales up 1.4% from August and up 26.1% from September 2011.
  • Midwest: Pending sales down 5.8% from August and up 19.3% from September 2011.
  • South: Pending sales up 1% from August and up 17.6% from September 2011.
  • West: Pending sales up 4.3% from August and up 0.8% from September 2011.
 
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