The National Association of Realtors (NAR) tells MHProNews their Pending Home Sales Index, based on contract signings, rose 3.1 percent in Feb. to 106.9 from a revised Jan. index of 103.7, 12 percent above last Feb.’s mark of 95.4. (An index of 100 represents an average level of contract activity.) It also notes the sixth straight month of year-over-year increases.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said, “Pending sales showed solid gains last month, driven by a steadily-improving labor market, mortgage rates hovering around 4% and the likelihood of more renters looking to hedge against increasing rents. These factors bode well for the prospect of an uptick in sales in coming months. However, the underlying obstacle – especially for first-time buyers – continues to be the depressed level of homes available for sale.”
NAR also reports that first-time homebuyers rose to 29 percent in Feb. from 28 percent in Jan., the first increase in that category since Nov. 2014. As MHProNews reported in a previous story, inventory at the lower segment of the market is sparse, where first-time homebuyers typically shop, a fact that could further support the need for affordable manufactured housing.
The increase in contracts for previously-owned homes signifies consumers are returning to the market because it is a forward looking indicator. Total existing-home sales are expected to hit 5.25 million, 6.4 percent above the 2014 level. Sales last year ended 2.9 percent below 2013 levels, while prices increased 5.7 percent. ##
(Image credit: globest-housing recovery)
Article submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.