Monthly Archives: March 2020

Armonk Zero Waste Day April 20th | Armonk Real Estate

Saturday, April 20, 2013

9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Rain or Shine
North Castle Town Hall
15 Bedford Road
Armonk, NY   10504

Welcome to Zero Waste Day! In order to ensure a safe and efficient event for our residents and volunteers, we ask that you please follow these simple rules to responsibly dispose of your unwanted items:

Drive slowly, and wait your turn.  Traffic flows one way only.

Stay in your car and let our volunteers unload your items.

Follow all traffic signs and obey our volunteers’ directions.

To avoid bringing items that are not being collected, please carefully check the list below beforehand. Refer to Recyclopedia for alternative disposal options for items not being collected during Zero Waste Day.

Our Zero Waste Day participating organizations will be present behind Town Hall in the order listed below.  Please consider this when loading your vehicle, so as to enable quick and efficient unloading.

Our Zero Waste Day collections change with each event. Please note the following:

Furniture Sharehouse is returning. See below for more information.

Stuffed animals and children’s books will NOT be collected.

Used Motor, Antifreeze and Cooking Oil Collection – collected by Enviro Waste Oil Recovery and American Alternative Energy

Used motor oil, used antifreeze, used oil filters and oily debris (rags)

Used vegetable oil (from a deep fat fryer)

For more information about Enviro Waste Oil Recovery, go to

Scrap Metal Collection – collected by Suburban Carting

Metal file cabinets, metal bed frames, aluminum siding, outdoor grills, metal fence pieces, hot water tanks and heaters, treadmills, basketball hoops, antennas, metal appliances (washers, dryers, stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners*, toasters, coffee pots, mixers, microwaves, waffle irons, table top grills) and any other unwanted scrap metal items or pieces.

*Freon does not need to be removed prior to drop-off.

E-waste Collection – collected by Suburban Carting for RCR&R

Computers **(including laptops), TVs, CRTs, small scale servers, monitors (non-CRT), keyboards and mice, copiers and scanners, fax machines, printers, VCRs, DVRs, DVD players, electronic and video game consoles, portable digital music players, digital converter boxes, cable or satellite receivers, cell phones and PDAs, universal power supply battery back-ups, typewriters, telephones, telecommunications equipment, circuit boards, cables and wires, ink cartridges, electric motors, AV equipment, radios and speakers, cameras, rechargeable power tool batteries, lead acid and automobile batteries.

** To prevent identity fraud, remember to remove any stored personal information before drop-off.  Simply deleting files does not completely erase the information on your computer’s hard drive.

For more information about Regional Computer Recovery and Recycling, go

Adult and Children’s Bicycles – collected by Recycle-a-Bicycle

Adult and children’s used bicycles in good condition, free of rust and major structural damage.

Bike parts and bike tools.

Paper Shredding  – collected by USA Shred

Up to 6 total boxes of papers and/or hardcover books per household for shredding and disposal. Box size must not exceed 10”x12”x15”. Staples and paper clips need not be removed but metal clasps and binder clips are not permitted.

For more information about USA Shred, go to

Dog and Cat Supplies – collected by Adopt-a-Dog

Wire dog crates, airline kennels from boarding kennels Melbourne, dog and cat beds and toys.

Linens in any condition (sheets, towels, comforters, blankets).

Balls (basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, tennis balls).

For a complete listing of items acceptable for donation, go to

Spring and Summer Clothing, Shoes and Linens – collected by Community Center of Northern Westchester

Clean, gently used spring and summer clothing and shoes for men, women and children.

Clean, gently used linens (sheets, towels, blankets, comforters).

For more information, please go to

Household Furniture – collected by Furniture Sharehouse

For a complete list of items that are acceptable and not acceptable, please go

Please note these items will NOT BE COLLECTED during this Zero Waste Day.

Bulk Items. There will not be a container for bulk items.  Arrange curbside pickup with Suburban Carting if you have bulk items.

This event is sponsored by the North Castle Recycling Committee and the Town of North Castle.  We are in need of volunteers!  Interested in helping as a committee member?  Want to volunteer for events only?  Please email us at

America’s inequitable housing system is completely unprepared for coronavirus | Bedford Hills Real Estate

As COVID-19 (or the coronavirus) spreads and Americans prepare for potential quarantines, public health officials have recommended some advice for U.S. households: Namely, stock up two weeks of supplies, avoid crowds, and stay in your homes.

And that advice is fine for middle-class suburbanites with white-collar jobs. Sure, hop in the SUV and drive to the nearest Costco. Stash extra cases of canned beans in the pantry and frozen veggies in the basement freezer. Kids can hang out in their separate bedrooms or play in the backyard while parents conduct conference calls from the home office.

Of course, for people who lack these residential resources—especially those with unstable, crowded, or poor-quality housing—this situation is impossible. Not to mention the fact that workers in fields such as food service, retail, and hospitality can’t conduct their work remotely. In the face of a global pandemic, what are these Americans supposed to do?

Workers in fields such as food service, retail, and hospitality can’t conduct their work remotely. In the face of a global pandemic, what are these Americans supposed to do?


The people who will have trouble “sheltering at home” are already among the most vulnerable populations. Estimating how many people will be affected is tricky, because these are also the most difficult populations for the Census Bureau to count. But we can predict which types of housing situations will create the greatest barriers.

Homeless persons. More than 500,000 people across the U.S. are homeless, roughly 40% of whom are unsheltered (living on streets, parks, and other open spaces). The remaining 60% live in temporary homes, including cars, shelters, or doubled-up with family. In a recent Curbed piece, Alissa Walker described the many challenges that homeless individuals face in trying to protect themselves from COVID-19, including hand-washing and storing food, which are critical obstacles.

Unaffordable or unstable housing. The poorest 20% of U.S. households spend more than half their monthly income on rent. Any loss of income—say, food service workers having their hours reduced as fewer people patronize restaurants—will put these households behind on their rent, increasing their risk of becoming homeless.

Group quarters. Some of the first U.S. fatalities from COVID-19 occurred in a nursing home outside Seattle. Contagious diseases spread rapidly in these types of group quarters, with residents living in close contact, sharing bathrooms, and eating together. Nearly 4 million Americans live in institutional group quarters such as nursing homes and correctional facilities. Another 4 million live in noninstitutional facilities, including college dorms, military barracks, and group foster homes. While colleges and universities can close dorms to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, that’s not an option for nursing homes or prisons.

Overcrowded households. Keeping the recommended 6-foot distance between people is tough for households with too many people crammed into too small of a space. Nationally, a very small share of households are overcrowded (more than two persons per bedroom). But the incidence varies substantially across population groups and cities: Nearly 15% of households with children living in high-cost metro areas are overcrowded. And even single-person households in small studio apartments or “tiny homes” will have difficulty storing extra supplies.

Unsafe, unhealthy housing. Even in the absence of contagious diseases, low-income households are more likely to live in housing that damages their health: mold and pest infestations that exacerbate asthma, for example, or lead paint and other toxic substances that harm children’s neurological development. We have virtually no data on how many people live in informal, unregulated housing, which is often ignored by local governments until disaster strikes.


Low-wage workers who live paycheck to paycheck will be hard pressed to come up with the funds to buy two weeks of supplies in advance. Neighborhood resources matter too: Low-income urban neighborhoods have few large supermarkets or big box stores within easy reach. The corner stores and bodegas that many people rely on for supplies only carry small portions, and bulk buying from these stores isn’t just less convenient, it’s more expensive: The per-unit cost of one toilet paper roll is higher than buying a large package. Riding the bus home with a few days’ worth of groceries is one thing. Lugging home two weeks’ worth of rice, dried beans, and canned goods is another.


For households who lack resources, giving people money as quickly and directly as possible would help. Short-term financial assistance would help poor families continue paying rent and buying food until the broader economy stabilizes. It would be more effective than a temporary moratorium on evictions (as some jurisdictions have enacted), since landlords also need money to pay their mortgages, property taxes, and utilities. Banks offering to allow borrowers more time on their mortgages could help homeowners as well as landlords—but the bigger concern is renter households, who have lower incomes and smaller savings.

For far too long, policymakers at all levels of government have failed to provide decent-quality, stable, and affordable housing to millions of Americans. In COVID-19, we’re only starting to see the devastating consequences of that failure.

Many of the other problems will be harder to address. To reach homeless populations, local governments will need not just money but trained staff, portable bathrooms, and modular housing. The short-term housing solutions we often use in the aftermath of natural disasters—gathering displaced people into large facilities such as gyms or convention centers—are not advisable during contagious disease outbreaks.

For far too long, policymakers at all levels of government have failed to provide decent-quality, stable, and affordable housing to millions of Americans. In COVID-19, we’re only starting to see the devastating consequences of that failure.

Sarah Crump provided excellent research assistance for this post.

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Italy cancelling mortgage bills | Bedford Real Estate

Homeowners in Italy are seeing many of their bills suspended – including mortgages – as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic, and now other European nations are considering similar moves.

Is a “mortgage holiday” coming to America?

The short answer is: probably not. Most American mortgages are packaged into bonds with legal terms that dictate what the servicers who handle the billing can and can’t do. There are ways servicers can offer forbearance – an agreement to let borrowers either pay at a lower interest rate or suspend payments temporarily because of a hardship. But it’s on a case-by-case basis.

“Somebody owns those bonds,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo. “Who is going to make those interest payments?”

Any missed or reduced payments typically have to be repaid, with interest. Sometimes, that means the loan will be re-amortized, so whatever you don’t pay now, you’ll be paying off over the remaining years of your loan, with interest.

America’s mortgage market is much bigger than Italy’s $423 billion of outstanding home-loan debt. The U.S. has about $11 trillion of mortgages on one- to four-family homes, according to Federal Reserve data. More than half of that is contained in bonds compiled and backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees those government-controlled mortgage securitizers, issued a directive last week urging servicers to offer help to people who fall behind on mortgage payments because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“To meet the needs of borrowers who may be impacted by the coronavirus, last week Fannie Mae and FreddieMac reminded mortgage servicers that hardship forbearance is an option for borrowers who are unable to make their monthly mortgage payment,” said FHFA Director Mark Calabria. “For borrowers that may be experiencing a hardship, I encourage you to reach out to your servicer.”

In addition, regulators such as the Federal Reserve on Tuesday urged U.S. banks such as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase to work “constructively” with borrowers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, promising they won’t get dinged by examiners as long as the measures show good judgment.

Italy has been the nation with the biggest outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, outside of China. Italy has more than 15,000 cases, and more than 1,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

While Italy is the only government to introduce a plan to suspend mortgage payments for people affected by the lockdown – and so far it’s only for the worst-hit areas of the nation – other European countries may follow suit, according to an S&P report.

“New monetary and fiscal stimulus measures are currently being launched daily and the Italian government is contemplating broadening the mortgage payment suspension scheme nationwide,” S&P said.

“Some banks and governments in other countries, including France, Spain, and the U.K., have mooted similar measures, although the potential scale of eligibility and level of uptake among borrowers could vary widely and are not yet known,” the report said.

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Trump county homebuilding jumps, Clinton county homebuilding falls | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Does this have anything to do with local taxes? You bet it does.

For the current edition of the Home Building Geography Index (HBGI), NAHB introduces a red vs. blue segmentation of the 3,221 counties of the United States.

“Red counties” are defined as those in which the majority of the population in the 2016 Presidential election voted for President Donald Trump, while “blue counties” are defined as those in which most of the population voted for then-Senator Hillary Clinton1. The data show that the population distribution is 48.7% in red and 51.3% in blue2.

While the population of the country is almost evenly split between red and blue counties, the same is not true for the distribution of single-family and multifamily construction. In fact, 61% of single-family construction is in red counties, while almost 64% of multifamily construction are in the blue counties. Blue counties tend to feature greater population density, hence the divide.

Moreover, the growth rates for home construction differ between red and blue counties. The map above shows the blue and red counties in the U.S. and the four-quarter moving averages of their year-over-year growth rates for single-family construction as of the end of 2019. Red counties posted growth of 1.7% for single-family home building, while blue counties posted a decline of 1.2%. This is likely due to differences in land availability/cost, as well as regulatory differences for construction. Indeed, lower growth rates in blue counties – compared to red – is expected given the relative cost of land in major metropolitan areas, making building a single-family home more expensive in such areas you will need to search for several contacts to find the right one for you and your budget, with you can get the best materials for your projects.

While there are differences between these two types of counties, both regions’ performances at the end of 2019 were clear improvements to relative periods of decline due to the housing soft patch during 2018, as seen on the figure below.

Although blue county multifamily construction growth was positive in 2019 (7.6%), the relatively smaller share of apartment construction in red counties posted a larger growth rate of 21.4%. This shows that red counties outperformed blue counties in both single- and multifamily development

Additionally, the above chart shows that, until 2019, multifamily growth was lower than single-family expansion for most periods since 2016.

With this edition of the NAHB/HBGI, additional new posts will examine updates for regional trends (large metros vs exurbs vs rural areas, etc.) for single-family and multifamily construction, as well as additional red vs blue analysis from a regional perspective.

  1. We use Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections for election results at the county level. The red vs. blue segmentation cleanly applies to all U.S. states except for Alaska, which, by tradition, has had electoral votes casted in Presidential Elections according to House District. To circumvent this problem, we use a county-equivalent analysis that imputes House District-level election data that was done by RRH Elections (
  2. Conventional wisdom is that the American population is concentrated in major metropolitan areas, i.e., those that voted for Hillary Clinton, even though the red counties far outnumber the blue, 2,633 over 507, respectively. The near 50-50 population split, as noted above, however, is due to the number of red counties with populations of 1,000 or above.

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Existing home sales surged in February | Cross River Homes

Sales of previously owned houses in the US surged 6.5 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million units in February of 2020, above market expectations of 5.5 million. It is the highest level since February of 2007. Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million, up from 4.82 million in January. Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in February, about even with January’s sales. There were 1.47 million houses available; at February’s sales pace, it would take 3.1 months to clear the current inventory, the same as in January. The median house price increased 8 percent year-on-year to USD 270,100.

United States Existing Home Sales

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Cuomo taxes lead to NYS flight | Bedford Corners Real Estate

The mass exodus of New Yorkers leaving the Empire State has reached a new fevered pitch, with nearly 80,000 choosing to move out to cheaper pastures, according to a new study.

But where are they going?

Whether it’s the high costs of living, a lack of well-paying jobs, or poor Northeastern weather, the population in New York State dropped by 76,790 between 2018 and 2019, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number represents a 0.4 percent drop in the state’s population year-to-year, which has dropped by nearly 1.5 million in the past decade.

According to the website Zippia , which used data from the Census to determine where New Yorkers are landing, the most popular destinations are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Connecticut, and North Carolina.

“New York, New York, what a wonderful place, except for the people who left the Big Apple last year that is. New York may be a cultural and economic hub in the United States,” Zippia stated. “However, it comes at a steep price. No doubt those high prices are partially to blame for New York being the most quickly shrinking state in the United States.”

According to reports, the population drop may cause New York to lose up to two congressional seats by 2022, dropping it from 27 to 25 members in office.

Last year, President Donald Trump was questioned about comments he made in 2017 stating that upstate New York residents should consider moving out of the state. The commander-in-chief doubled down on those statements.

“If New York isn’t gonna treat them better, I would recommend they go to another state where they can get a great job,” Trump said on Wednesday. “I love those people. Those people are my voters. They’ve been treated very badly.”

According to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office, the combined state/local tax rate for high-income New Yorkers is the second-highest in the country. The top one percent of taxpayer accounts for nearly half (46 percent) of State Income Tax liability. More than 95 percent of the tax increase from SALT falls on the top 20 percent of taxpayers – these taxpayers pay 87 percent of New York income taxes.

The governor said that the tax reforms encourage New York’s wealthiest to move to other states, “and even if a small number of high-income taxpayers leave the state, it would harm state revenues” and impact funding for education, healthcare, infrastructure, and a planned middle-class tax cut.

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Mortgage rates rise to 3.88% | North Salem Real Estate

 Here’s how mortgage rates have changed this week The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose this week to 3.88 percent from 3.77 percent, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey of large lenders. The rise in rates may be partly due to constrained capacity at the nation’s mortgage lenders, which are coping with a more than four-fold increase in applications as rates have plunged during the coronavirus pandemic.

The rates that Bankrate collects each week are national averages from larger lenders in big cities. You will probably be able to find rates lower than these averages by shopping a variety of lenders and being persistent when your phone calls to lenders take longer to be answered. Need a loan ? read the information of, you can find everything regarding loans and lenders.

Keep in mind that mortgage closings are being extended as all phases of the process are overwhelmed with additional work. For a new mortgage, it’s wise to request an interest rate lock of at least 45 days and preferably 60 days. Locks aren’t free–the longer the lock, the higher the rate you will be quoted.

These are extraordinary times for homeowners, homebuyers and lenders, so please be patient. Bankrate is here to help, with news, data and information about all aspects of mortgages and real estate, just visit <!–td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}–>
SoFi to get further information!
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Bedford Town supervisor update

March 16, 2020
Supervisor Update on COVID-19
As you may know, I issued an emergency declaration last week and an additional order yesterday.  We understand that two Bedford residents have been tested positive, though I have not yet received official notification from the Westchester County Department of Health.  It is highly likely that more Bedford residents will test positive.
This is uncharted territory. Our obligation is to take action to protect public health and safety, erring on the side of caution. We have taken the following actions: 

  1. Closure of Town Offices  We have closed Town Offices to the public, except by appointment with the Tax Receiver for cash payments.  We encourage you to make payments by check or money order (utilizing the drop box in front of 425 Cherry Street) or online at on “Pay Taxes and Parking Tickets”).  Only essential employees will be coming to work on a staggered basis in observance of the Governor’s order regarding staffing.  
  2. Town Parks  Due to the use of playground equipment, basketball courts and other town park facilities in which groups gather and have close physical contact, I have closed the hamlet parks (Bedford Hills Memorial Park, Bedford Village Memorial Park and Katonah Memorial Park) and Canine Commons to vehicular traffic (except emergency vehicles).  You certainly may walk into the parks, use the trails and grounds, but please no groups and we ask that you please observe social distancing. We are looking into whether we can re-open the parks to vehicular traffic, but only if we can do so without compromising the public safety. 
  3. Cancellation of Programs, Events and Meetings  We have cancelled meetings of advisory committees and boards. We are deciding on a case by case whether to cancel meetings of the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and other permitting boards. We will hold tomorrow’s meeting of the Town Board with videoconferencing capability (see notice). 

I wish to share with you the following:Quarantine and IsolationMany of you asked for more clarity on quarantine parameters. Included in this email are links to the information released by New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Zucker for testing guidance: quarantine and isolation guidance: GougingIf you are witnessing price gouging on items like cleaning supplies, toilet paper or soap, please encourage them to call the New York State Department of Consumer Protection.They have launched a toll-free hotline 1-800-697-1220 and will investigate reports of unfair price increases amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Testing  I’ve been asked about the status of expansion of testing capabilities. I asked Dr. Sherlita Amler, Westchester County Commissioner of Health on a conference call today among other Town supervisors.  She replied that the leading effort now is to provide drive-through testing.  
For maximum safety, patients remain in their cars for the tests, which are administered by a public health professional outfitted in protective clothing. Each appointment would only take a few minutes. Prevention  Please continue to take “everyday” preventive measures of avoiding exposure to other illnesses.   

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

 For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing websiteFor information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. Chris BurdickTown Supervisorsupervisor@bedfordny.gov914-666-6530

NYSAR reports NYS prices up | Chappaqua NY Real Estate

January home sales spur optimism for 2020 New York State housing market

Albany, NY – Closed sales and pending sales were up in January in year-over-year comparisons, fueling optimism for a robust 2020 housing market, according to the housing market report released today by the New York State Association of REALTORS®.

Closed sales improved 4.1-percent to 9,204 units from 8,842 houses at the start of 2019. Pending sales were also up in year-over-year comparisons, escalating to 8,895 houses – a 5.6-percent increase over January 2019’s total of 8,421 homes.

The median sales price continued to appreciate as the calendar turned to 2020. The statewide median sales price was $300,000 – an increase of 9.1-percent from the January 2019 median of $275,000.

New listings were down to 14,370 homes – a 2.9-percent decrease from 14,806 homes in January of 2019.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage continues to be affordable, dropping to 3.62-percent in January according to Freddie Mac. Days on the market remained unchanged from January 2019 at 77 days.

Data and analysis compiled for the New York State Association of REALTORS® by Showing Time Inc.

Pending home sales jump 5.7% yoy | Armonk Real Estate

Pending home sales rebounded in January, ticking up following a decline in December, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Only the West region reported a minor drop in month-over-month contract activity, while the other three major regions each saw pending home sales grow. Year-over-year pending home sales activity was up in all four regions and thus up nationally compared to one year ago.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI),*, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, grew 5.2% to 108.8 in January. Year-over-year contract signings increased 5.7%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.

“This month’s solid activity – the second-highest monthly figure in over two years – is due to the good economic backdrop and exceptionally low mortgage rates,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

Infographic: January 2020 Pending-Home Sales

See and share this infographic.

“We are still lacking in inventory,” he said, noting December’s and January’s combined supply was at the lowest level since 1999. “Inventory availability will be the key to consistent future gains.”

Pointing to data from active listings at®, Yun says the year-over-year increases show a strong desire for homeownership. Markets drawing some of the most significant buyer attention include Fort Wayne, Ind.; San Francisco, Calif.; Sacramento, Calif.; Lafayette, Ind.; and San Jose, Calif.

“With housing starts hovering at 1.6 million in December and January, along with the favorable mortgage rates, among other factors, 2020 has so far presented a very positive sales climate,” Yun said. “Moreover, the latest stock market correction could provide exceptional, even lower mortgage rates for a few weeks, and that would help bring about a noticeable upturn in the coming months.”

January Pending Home Sales Regional Breakdown

The Northeast PHSI rose 1.3% to 92.9 in January, 1.2% higher than a year ago. In the Midwest, the index increased 7.3% to 105.3 last month, 6.5% higher than in January 2019.

Pending home sales in the South grew 8.7% to an index of 129.4 in January, a 7.1% increase from January 2019. The index in the West declined 1.1% in January 2020 to 92.6, still a jump of 5.5% from a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20% of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: Existing-Home Sales for February will be reported March 20. The next Pending Home Sales Index will be March 30; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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