Americans signed fewer contracts to buy homes in August, the fifth month of declines in the last six, prompting the Realtor industry group to slash its forecast for sales in 2017.
The National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales index fell 2.6% to 106.3, the group said Wednesday. That was the lowest reading since January 2016 and put the index 2.6% lower than its level a year ago.
Economists surveyed by Econoday had forecast a 0.2% dip in the index in August, which forecasts future sales by tracking real estate transactions in which a contract has been signed but the deal has not yet closed.
The extreme supply-demand imbalance in the housing market has ground sales to a standstill, the Realtors believe. “This summer’s terribly low supply levels have officially drained all of the housing market’s momentum over the past year,” the group said in a statement.
In August, pending sales in the Northeast slumped 4.4%, while in the Midwest they were down 1.5%. Pending sales declined 3.5% in the South, and 1.0% in the West.
NAR has cut its full-year forecast for sales in the wake of a tepid spring selling season and the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. The group now expects 5.44 million homes will be sold in 2017, a 0.2% decline from the 5.45 million sold in 2016 and well below the 5.52 million sales it predicted at the start of the year.
Courtesy of Realtor.com and credited to Andrea
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