Pending home sales increased 0.3% in September, suggesting continued steady improvement in existing sales. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased to 105.0 in September from 104.7 in August. The September reading was up 1.0% from the same month a year ago, and pending sales were up year-over-year for the first time in 11 months.
The September PHSI increased modestly in the South and Northeast, but decreased slightly in the West and Midwest. Year-over-year, the West, Northeast and South increased 3.6%, 2.9% and 1.7% respectively, while the Midwest declined 4.0%.
Last week NAR reported a 2.4% increase in September existing home sales, and firming job and economic growth suggests that the existing home market will demonstrate steady growth throughout the fall. The housing recovery has moved towards higher ground reflected by a six-year high in September new homes sales.