If only it wasn’t for that pesky GDP print, it would have been 4 out of 4 beats today. Well, three and a half: moments ago the Pending Home Sales number was released and showed a tiny 0.1% increase in January activity, compared to the expected 1.8%. The means that the data has bounced the smallest possible bounce off the lowest print since November 2011. But don’t worry: in the same release we found that the data also beat, because on a year over year basis, sales declined by “only” 9.1%, compared to the -10.8% expected. So this is great news. Finally, just in case someone focused on the bad news instead of the good news, NAR’s Larry Yun made it quite clear that it was the weather’s fault: “Ongoing disruptive weather patterns in much of the U.S. inhibited home shopping.”
Putting the number in perspective.
More from the report:
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that factors which dampened December activity also were at play in January. “Ongoing disruptive weather patterns in much of the U.S. inhibited home shopping,” he said. “Limited inventory also is playing a role, especially in the West, while credit remains tight and affordability isn’t as favorable as it was a year ago.”
The December index reading was the lowest since November 2011, when it stood at 94.6.
Existing-home sales are expected to be weak in the first quarter, while prices continue to rise from limited inventory. “Increasing new home construction can quickly solve two problems, producing more inventory and taming price growth,” Yun said.
The pace of sales should pick up in the middle part of the year. Total existing-home sales are projected at just over 5.0 million in 2014, slightly below the volume recorded last year. The national median existing-home price is forecast to grow in the range of 5 to 6 percent this year.
Momentarily we will show the regional breakdown in sales confirm that the NAR lied once again.