Friday, August 31, 2018
Let's Talk... Hot Off The Press
Pending sales for existing homes nationwide dropped by 0.7 percent in between July
and June, and have now fallen for seven straight months on an annual basis.
The National Association of Realtors’ study of those sales suggests that the slowdown
is because of high pricing. Pending sales in July were down 2.3 percent year over year.
The organization’s analysis is based on contracts signed for existing single-family
homes, condos and co-ops, also making it an indicator of what closed sales could
look like in a month or two.
The western U.S. saw the biggest year-over-year dip in pending sales, dropping
by 5.8 percent. Sales in the southern U.S., which has been one of the stronger
egions in recent years, dipped by 0.9 percent.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said those declines “weighed down” the
overall national numbers. He said the latest numbers are a reflection of overheated
markets, pointing to the western U.S. as the prime example.
Years of inadequate supply and strong job growth “have finally driven up home prices
to a point where an increasing number of prospective buyers are unable to afford it,” Yun said.
The latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index suggested that pricing may
be hitting a ceiling in many major U.S. metros. Home prices in 20 cities part of
the index rose at their slowest pace since 2016. Climbing mortgage rates are also
likely affecting the pace of price growth and sales.
Yun added that if new home construction picked up, prices would likely come
down to a point that first-time buyers could afford again. First-time buyers spent
around 23 percent of their income on a typical starter home in the second quarter, up 2
percent from the first quarter.
He predicted sales of existing homes this year would drop by 1 percent to 5.46