INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… We were all very happy to see that Pending Home Sales grew for the second month in a row, up 0.4% in April. This National Association of Realtors (NAR) measure of contracts signed on existing homes indicates continued growth for these sales when contracts go to closing a couple of months out. The NAR’s chief economist sees a gradual gain in sales: “Higher inventory levels are giving buyers more choices, and a slight decline in mortgage interest rates this spring is raising prospective home buyers’ confidence. An uptrend in closed sales is expected.”
The NAR further projected that annual existing home sales should come in slightly below the almost 5.1 million closings we had in 2013, but then should hit nearly 5.3 million next year. The national median price for existing homes is expected to increase 5% to 6% this year and 4% to 5% in 2015. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index continued rising in March, but at a slower 0.9% pace. However, the index is up 12.6% versus a year ago, and 19 of the 20 cities reported monthly gains. Most observers feel a moderation in price gains is healthy for the housing market.