Housing market stalls - NAR

Housing market stalls - NAR”

In a report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said its decreased by a seasonally adjusted last month, compared to expectations for a decline of 0.5%.

The Realtors group projects 5.44 million homes will be sold this year, down from last month's estimate of 5.49 million and lower than the 5.45 million sold in 2016. That was the lowest reading since January 2016 and put the index 2.6% lower than its level a year ago.

Pending sales, which are based on contract signings, fell on an annual basis for the fourth time in five months.

NAR said its pending home sales index plunged by 2.6 percent to 106.3 in August from 109.1 in July.

A softening of the hot California real estate market is on the cards following a second straight month of stalled activity.

This expert blamed the decline on limited listings and home prices rising far above incomes.

Contracts to buy previously owned homes fell more than expected in August to their lowest level in about 1-1/2 years as the housing market continues to be sapped by a shortage of inventory that is also pushing up home prices. "The good news is that almost all of the missed closings for the remainder of the year will likely show up in 2018, with existing sales forecast to rise 6.9%".

The report showed notable decreases in pending home sales in the Northeast and South, where pending home sales slumped by 4.4 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

The largest drop in pending sales was in the San Francisco Bay Area (11.6% year-over-year) while Southern California saw a 3.8% drop with only Orange and San Bernardino counties showing a year-over-year rise.

Pantheon Macroeconomics said: "The mortgage applications numbers pointed to a clear increase in pending home sales, so the drop presumably is due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey".

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