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U.S. Pending Home Sales Rose in February

By Ed Frankl


The number of houses going under contract rose moderately in February, helped by a buoyant jobs market and a rising inventory. Here are the main takeaways from the National Association of Realtors' report released Thursday:

--The pending home sales index, a leading indicator of home sales based on contract signings, ticked up 1.6% compared with a month earlier to 75.6 in February. A reading of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.

--Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected the index to rise by 1.2%.

--January's indicator was revised up to 74.4 from 74.3.

--"While modest sales growth might not stir excitement, it shows slow and steady progress from the lows of late last year," Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said. Jobs gains are boosting demand, alongside increased inventory from recent homebuilding, he noted. Housing starts rose nearly 11% in February, according to Commerce Department data published earlier in March.

--The Midwest and South regions registered gains of 10.6% and 1.1% on month, respectively, while pending home sales in the Northeast and West regions dipped 0.3% and 6.5%, respectively. The high-cost regions in the Northeast and West experienced pullbacks as incomes rose less than home prices, Yun said.

--Compared with one year ago, pending home sales declined 7.0%, and in all U.S. regions, the data said.


Write to Ed Frankl at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 28, 2024 10:14 ET (14:14 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2024 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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