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Pending-home sales return to negative territory in November

by John Yellig

Pending-home sales fell 2.2% on a monthly basis in November after surging 7.5% in October, the National Association of REALTORS® reported, citing its Pending Home Sales Index.

Year over year, contract signings were down 1.4%, according to a press release.

“There was less pending-home sales action this time around, which I would ascribe to low housing supply, but also to buyers being hesitant about home prices,” NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said, noting that housing demand remained high, with homes placed on the market for sale going from “listed status” to “under contract” in approximately 18 days. “While I expect neither a price reduction, nor another year of record-pace price gains, the market will see more inventory in 2022, and that will help some consumers with affordability.”

All four geographic regions saw decreases in contract activity from the previous month, led by the Midwest, which clocked a 6.3% decline from October, and the West, where signed contracts dipped 2.2%. Pending transactions slid 0.7% in the South and 0.1% in the Northeast.

Compared to last year, the Northeast had the largest drop in the PHSI, with an 8.5% decrease, followed by the West, with a 4.6% slide. The Midwest saw a 0.2% rise year over year, while the index slid 1.3% in the South.

“The final pending-home sales report of the year confirms that 2021 has been a very strong year for the housing market,” First American deputy chief economist Odeta Kushi said. “The housing market enters 2022 with robust demand but near record-low inventory, which means house-price growth will remain elevated.”

Yun added that the omicron variant is the latest pandemic-related threat to the housing market, as potential buyers and sellers are sidelined, and home construction is delayed.

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