Pending home sales declined in February, though there were modest gains in the Midwest and West. February marks the eighth straigh month with a decline in pending home sales.
The National Association of Realtors reports that in all four regions of the country, pending sales in February are below what they were a year ago, based on its Pending Home Sales Index. The index is based on contract signings for homes. It is 10.5 percent below February 2013 and the lowest it's been since October 2011.
Cold as the other side of the tombstone
The slow start to the spring buying season is contributing to a downturn in the markets. Stocks are sliding on weak economic news that includes the housing stall, weak company earnings and a gross domestic product report with slower-than-expected growth during the last quarter of 2013.
Good news ahead?
But Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, says the latest monthly survey on buyer traffic shows some transactions that were delayed due to harsh winter weather will move forward in the spring. "Contract signings for the past three months have been little changed, implying the market appears to be stabilizing," he wrote in a release.
Looking to 2014, the NAR forecasts total existing-home sales at 5 million, just under the nearly 5.1 million in sales last year. Housing starts are projected to rise nearly 19 percent in 2014, while more home construction will reduce some of the pressure on home prices. This year, median existing home prices are forecast to rise 5.5 percent to 6 percent, compared with 11.5 percent in 2013.
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