The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that pending home sales, contracts to buy houses and the transaction has not yet closed, edged upward by 0.3 percent in September compared to August when sales fell 2.6 percent compared to July. Economists were planning on a 2.1 percent climb during September compared to the month prior.
The realtor group’s index of pending home sales rose to a September reading of 99.5; up from August’s 99.2, but still below the 100-mark that is considered healthy. A reading of 100 means that the month’s activity is equal to the average contract activity during 2001.
Compared to September 2011, contracts to buy homes were up 14.5 percent this year, representing the 17th straight month of gains.
In July, the so-called pending home sales index hit two-year highs of 101.9. The index bottomed in 2010 at 75.88 after a homebuyer’s tax credit program came to an end.
The increase in September may have been less than economists had expected, but it does show that the real estate industry in the States continues to heal. Analysts cite tight lending requirements as a choking factor for sales, although interest rates sit near historic lows.
On Wednesday, the Commerce Department said that new home sales jumped 5.7 percent to an annual rate of 389,000 during September from a downwardly revised rate of 368,000 in August. The new annual rate represents a fresh two-year high for new home sales. Economists were calling-for a 3.2 percent increase to a 385,000 annual pace.