The Pending Home Sales Index decreased 2.5% in November 2016 to its lowest level since January 2016, and is 0.4% below November 2015. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), decreased to 107.3 in November 2016 from 110.0 the previous month.
The PHSI increased 0.6% in the Northeast, but fell 1.2% in the South, 2.5% in the Midwest and 6.7% in the West. Year-over-year, the PHSI increased 5.7% in the Northeast, but decreased 1.0% in the West, 1.3% in the South and 2.4% in the Midwest.
NAR recently reported a decline in confidence among renters who are contemplating the best time to buy a home. The election boosted the U.S. 10-year Treasury note from 1.83% the day before the election to 2.54% on December 28, 2016, and mortgage rates followed quickly. The Freddie Mac Weekly Survey reported a 30-year commitment rate of 3.54% on November 3, which increased to 4.30% for the week ending December 22, 2016. However, November existing sales continued a solid year-end path, and total 2016 existing sales are expected to reach the highest level since 2006. As the economy adds jobs, increased demand among first-time buyers will help fuel existing sales into 2017.