US: Pending Home Sales Index

Wed Nov 29 09:00:00 CST 2017

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous Revised
Pending Home Sales Index - M/M 1.0% 0.6% to 2.5% 3.5% 0.0% -0.4%
Pending Home Sales Index - Level 109.3 106.0 105.6

Led by a hurricane bounce in the South, the pending home sales index jumped a much sharper-than-expected 3.5 percent in October which points to continued gains for final sales of existing homes. Pending sales in the South jumped 7.4 percent in October after falling 3.0 percent during the hurricane swept month of September. The index level in the South, at 123.6, far outdistances all other regions and compares against 109.3 for the total index. October's overall gain follows two months of sharp increases in new home sales and will boost confidence that housing, after a mostly flat year, is pivoting higher at year end.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
No change in September's pending sales index failed to predict final sales of existing homes in October which proved strong. Yet this index has been a generally accurate gauge for what has proven to be a modest year for the resale market. The Econoday consensus for the October pending sales index is a sharp gain of 1.0 percent.

The National Association of Realtors developed the pending home sales index as a leading indicator of housing activity. Specifically, it is a leading indicator of existing home sales, not new home sales. A pending sale is one in which a contract was signed, but not yet closed. It usually takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

This provides a gauge of not only the demand for housing, but the economic momentum. People have to be feeling pretty comfortable and confident in their own financial position to buy a house. Furthermore, this narrow piece of data has a powerful multiplier effect through the economy, and therefore across the markets and your investments. By tracking economic data such as the pending home sales index which measures home resales, investors can gain specific investment ideas as well as broad guidance for managing a portfolio.

Even though home resales don't always create new output, once the home is sold, it generates revenues for the realtor. It brings a myriad of consumption opportunities for the buyer. Refrigerators, washers, dryers and furniture are just a few items home buyers might purchase. The economic "ripple effect" can be substantial especially when you think a hundred thousand new households around the country are doing this every month.

Since the economic backdrop is the most pervasive influence on financial markets, home resales have a direct bearing on stocks, bonds and commodities. In a more specific sense, trends in the existing home sales data carry valuable clues for the stocks of home builders, mortgage lenders and home furnishings companies.

The National Association of Realtors moved up its publication schedule in 2011. Prior to 2011, the reference month was two months trailing the release date. In 2011, the reference month trails only by one month to the release month.