The National Association of Realtors (NAR) this morning released its data on pending home sales in October. The index rose 5.2% from an upwardly revised 99.6 in September to 104.8, and it is 13.2% higher than in October 2011 when the index reading was 92.6. The index reflects signed contracts, not sales closings. An index reading of 100 equals the average level of contract signings during 2001.
The NAR’s chief economist noted:
We’ve had very good housing affordability conditions for quite some time, but we’re seeing more impact now from steady job creation, and rising consumer confidence about home buying now that home prices have clearly turned positive.
Pending sales rose most in the Midwest — up 15.6% — and the South — up 5.5%. The Midwest region is up 20% year-over-year and the South is up 17.4%.
The West region continues to be constrained by an inventory shortage. Pending sales dropped 1.1% in October and are just 0.9% higher than October 2011. In the Northeast region, there was some impact on sales from Hurricane Sandy. Pending sales in the Northeast were down 0.1%, but still 13.3% higher than October 2011.
The NAR noted that pending home sales are at their highest level since March 2007, and on a year-over-year basis, pending sales have risen for 18 consecutive months.