March Pending Home Sales increased 5.3% from February, and were 21% higher than one year ago at this time. The Pending Home Sales index, which measure sales of existing homes based on contracts which have been signed but not yet closed, is a leading indicator for the housing sector. The index provides guidance for future Existing Home Sales reports.
The chief economist of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) suggested that the home buyer tax credit has helped “stabilize the market”. Contracts had to be signed by the end of April to qualify for the tax credit, so many buyers rushed to take advantage before the deadline. As a result, the NAR chief economist expects “measurably lower sales” in May. The growth in housing sector activity will then depend largely on the performance of the economy and the labor market. The housing sector may also benefit from increased availability of jumbo mortgages and other forms of credit from non-governmental sources.