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Pending Home Sales Drop (As Expected)

Posted on July 27, 2010 by tim in Market Update, Tax Credit

Following a surge driven by the home buyer tax credit, pending home sales fell with the expiration of the deadline for qualified buyers to sign a purchase contract, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, dropped 30.0 percent to 77.6 based on contracts signed in May from a reading of 110.9 in April, and is 15.9 percent below May 2009 when it was 92.3. The falloff comes on the heels of three strong monthly gains as home buyers rushed to take advantage of the tax credit.

The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months. However, many closings have been delayed recently from a rush of buyers into the system and slow processing of short sales, in addition to the heavy volume and a more thorough loan underwriting process. As many as 180,000 buyers who signed contracts by April 30 may have missed the June 30 closing deadline for the tax credit. However, Congress passed legislation to extend the deadline for delayed contracts.

“In most areas of the country there will be no sharp snap back in home prices in the upcoming years, although some local markets have experienced double-digit gains this year,” NAR Cheif Economist Lawrence Yun aid. NAR forecasts the national median home price to rise only 4 percent cumulatively over the next two years.

“One factor that could lead to price acceleration in upcoming years for some markets is if the very low levels of new-home construction were to persist for another year or two,” he added.

Source: NAR


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