econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 27 September 2017

August 2017 Pending Home Sales Seasonally Adjusted Index In Contraction

Written by Steven Hansen

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) seasonally adjusted pending home sales index again declined. Our analysis agrees. The quote of the day from this NAR release:

...many would-be buyers from earlier in the year are still in the market for a home, while others have perhaps decided to temporarily postpone their search ...

Analyst Opinion of Pending Home Sales

The rolling averages are in positive territory. The data is very noisy and must be averaged to make sense of the situation. There is no signs of a surge in home sales, and the overall downward trends remain in play.

Pending home sales are based on contract signings, and existing home sales are based on the execution of the contract (contract closing).

The NAR reported:

  • Pending home sales index was down 2.6 % month-over-month and down 2.6 % year-over-year.
  • The market [from Bloomberg / Econoday} was expecting month-over-month growth of -0.6 % to 1.2 % (consensus -0.1 %) versus the negative -2.6 % reported.

Econintersect's evaluation using unadjusted data:

  • the index growth rate was down 2.6 % month-over-month and down 3.1 % year-over-year.
  • The current trend (using 3 month rolling averages) is declining..
  • Extrapolating the pending home sales unadjusted data to project September 2017 existing home sales would be down 3.2 % year-over-year for existing home sales.

From Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist:

.... this summer's terribly low supply levels have officially drained all of the housing market's momentum over the past year. August was another month of declining contract activity because of the one-two punch of limited listings and home prices rising far above incomes. Demand continues to overwhelm supply in most of the country, and as a result, many would-be buyers from earlier in the year are still in the market for a home, while others have perhaps decided to temporarily postpone their search.

With little relief expected from the housing shortages that continue to plague several areas, Yun believes the housing market has essentially stalled. Further complicating any sales improvement in the months ahead is the fact that Hurricane Harvey's damage to the Houston region contributed to the South's decline in contract signings in August, and will likely continue to do so in the months ahead. Furthermore, the temporary pause in activity in Florida this month in the wake of Hurricane Irma will slow overall sales even more in the South.

Yun now forecasts existing-home sales to close out the year at around 5.44 million, which comes in slightly below (0.2 percent) the pace set in 2016 (5.45 million). The national median existing-home price this year is expected to increase around 6 percent. In 2016, existing sales increased 3.8 percent and prices rose 5.1 percent.

"The supply and affordability headwinds would have likely held sales growth just a tad above last year, but coupled with the temporary effects from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, sales in 2017 now appear will fall slightly below last year," said Yun. "The good news is that nearly all of the missed closings for the remainder of the year will likely show up in 2018, with existing sales forecast to rise 6.9 percent."

Econintersect forecasts unadjusted existing home sales by offsetting the pending home sales index one month. This forecast suggests unadjusted existing home sales of 470,000 in September 2017.

Using this methodology, 505,000 existing home unadjusted sales were forecast for July 2017 versus the actual reported number of 535,000 (which is subject to further revision).

Keeping things real - home sales volumes are only 2/3rds of previous levels.

Caveats on the Use of Pending Home Sales Index

According to the NAR:

NAR's Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is released during the first week of each month. It is designed to be a leading indicator of housing activity.

The index measures housing contract activity. It is based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos and co-ops. A signed contract is not counted as a sale until the transaction closes. Modeling for the PHSI looks at the monthly relationship between existing-home sale contracts and transaction closings over the last four years.

…… When a seller accepts a sales contract on a property, it is recorded into a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as a "pending home sale." The majority of pending home sales become home sale transactions, typically one to two months later.

NAR now collects pending home sales data from MLSs and large brokers. Altogether, we receive data from over 100 MLSs & 60 large brokers, giving us a large sample size covering 50% of the EHS sample. This is equal to 20 percent of all transactions.

In other words, Pending Home Sales is an extrapolation of a sample equal to 20% of the whole. Econintersect uses Pending Home Index to forecast future existing home sales.

Econintersect reset the forecasting of existing home sales using the pending home sales index coincident with November 2011 Pending home sales analysis (see here) - as the NAR in November revised the historical existing home sales data.

The Econintersect forecasting methodology is influenced by the speed at which closings occur. When they slow down in a particular period - this method overestimates. The number of cash buyers are speeding up the process (cash buyers analysis here). A quick cash home sale process could begin and end in the same month. On the other hand, contracts for short sales can sometimes take months to close. Interpreting the pending home sales data is complicated by weighing offsetting effects in the current abnormal market.

Please note that Econintersect uses unadjusted data in its analysis.

Econintersect determines the month-over-month change by subtracting the current month's year-over-year change from the previous month's year-over-year change. This is the best of the bad options available to determine month-over-month trends - as the preferred methodology would be to use multi-year data (but the New Normal effects and the Great Recession distort historical data).



>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<



Permanent link to most recent post on this topic

Click here for Historical Releases Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted. You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.






Econintersect Economic Releases








search_box
Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.







Keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government





























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved