The National Association of Realtors (NAR) this morning announced that its pending home sales index fell in February from January’s reading of 97.0 to 96.5. The consensus estimate for the index called for a gain of 1.0%. The index reflects contracts, not closings.
The NAR’s chief economist noted:
The spring home buying season looks bright because of an elevated level of contract offers so far this year. If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years. Based on all of the factors in the current market, that’s what we’re expecting with sales rising 7 to 10 percent in 2012.
Contract cancellations have played havoc with homebuilders in the past couple of months, so the NAR’s optimism may be too early.