A Historic Rebound for the Housing Market

IF you are planning to sell a home within the next 18 months, now may be the perfect time to put your house on the market.

Pending Home Sales increased by 44.3% in May.  Pending homes sales were the highest month-over-month gain in the index we have seen since the National Association of Realtors (NAR) started tracking this metric in January 2001.  What are pending home sales, and why are they important?

According to NAR, the Pending Home Sales Index (PHS) is:

“A leading indicator of housing activity measures housing contract activity and is based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. Because a home goes under contract a month or two before it is sold, the Pending Home Sales Index generally leads Existing-Home Sales by a month or two.”

In real estate, pending home sales is a crucial indicator in determining the strength of the housing market. It measures how many existing homes went into contract in a specific month. When a buyer goes through the steps to purchase a home, the final one is the closing. On average, that happens about two months after the contract is signed, depending on how fast or slow the process takes in each state.

Why is this rebound important?

With the COVID-19 pandemic and a shutdown of the economy, we saw a steep two-month decline in the number of houses that went into contract. In May, however, that number increased dramatically (see graph below):

 This jump means buyers are back in the market and purchasing homes right now. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR mentioned:

“This has been a spectacular recovery for contract signings and goes to show the resiliency of American consumers and their evergreen desire for homeownership…This bounce-back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery.”

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But to continue with this trend, we need more houses for sale on the market. Yun continues to say:

“More listings are continuously appearing as the economy reopens, helping with inventory choices…Still, more home construction is needed to counter the persistent underproduction of homes over the past decade.”

As we move through the year, we’ll see an increase in the number of houses being built. This will help combat a small portion of the inventory deficit. The lack of overall inventory, however, is still a challenge, and it is creating an opportunity for homeowners who are ready to sell. As the graph below shows, during the last 12 months, the supply of homes for sale has been decreasing year-over-year and is not keeping up with the demand from homebuyers.

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