July home sales at highest level in 2 years
Pending home sales in July rose on both a monthly and a yearly basis, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said in a recent report.
According to the NAR, July pending home sales increased 2.4 percent from the previous month (June 2012) and came in 12.4 percent higher than one year earlier (July 2011).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, noted how the year-over-year increase on monthly sales is an important indicator.
“While the month-to-month movement has been uneven, more importantly we now have 15 consecutive months of year-over-year gains in contract activity,” Yun said in a statement.
The NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) for July was 101.7, its highest level in more than two years. The last time the PHSI was near this level was April 2010 – near the closing deadline for the home buyer tax credit.
Regional results mostly positive
Three of the four main U.S. regions saw month-over-month increases in PHSI, the NAR reported.
“All regions saw monthly increases in home-buying activity except for the West, which is now experiencing an acute inventory shortage,” Yun said.
The largest monthly increase in pending home sales was in the South, where the PHSI rose 5.2 percent from June to July. Sales in the South in July were 15.6 percent above a year ago.
The Midwest saw a 3.4 percent increase in PHSI in July and is currently 20.2 percent above levels from July 2011, while the Northeast experienced a 0.5 percent increase in July and currently sits 13.4 percent higher than one year earlier.
Pending home sales in the West dropped 1.7 percent in July but still sit 1.3 percent higher than one year earlier in July 2011.
According to the report, the NAR forecasts that existing home sales will increase 8 to 9 percent in 2012 and another 7 to 8 percent in 2013.