Pending Home Sales Fall Slightly In October

Pending home sales dipped slightly in the United States last month, though were significantly higher than in October 2019, according to a new report released Monday by the National Association of Realtors.

The Pending Home Sales Index fell 1.1 percent in October, the second straight month it dropped from summer highs. Compared to last year, however, pending home sales climbed 20.2 percent.

“Pending home transactions saw a small drop off from the prior month but still easily outperformed last year’s numbers for October,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The housing market is still hot, but we may be starting to see rising home prices hurting affordability.”

Regionally, results were mixed. The index dipped 5.9 percent for the month in the Northeast, while remaining 18.5 percent higher than a year ago. The Midwest fell 0.7 percent for the month and was 19.6 above October 2019. In the South, sales were up 0.1 percent for the month and 21 percent over last year. Sales were flat in the West and up 20.8 percent from a year ago.

Across the country, Yun said, inventory is way down.

“The combination of these factors – scarce housing and low rates – plus very strong demand has pushed home prices to levels that are making it difficult to save for a down payment, particularly among first-time buyers, who don’t have the luxury of using housing equity from a sale to use as a down payment,” Yun said. “Work-from-home flexibility has also increased the demand for both primary and secondary homes.”

October 2020 NAR Pending Home Sales