May pending home sales take a breather

Published 3:14 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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Pending sales took a breather last month after reaching a nine-month high in April. Sellers accepted 12 more contracts than the previous month and plateaued with nine fewer than May last year.
Pending sales have slowly increased since December. They are following a pre-pandemic sales pattern driven by higher prices, lower inventory and higher mortgage rates that added hundreds of dollars to the monthly mortgage cost.
May’s NETAR Pending Sales Index was 126 up from 124 in April. The index is a forward-looking indicator based on the 2018 annual average for signed contracts to buy a home rather than the final sales that are accounted for in the Home Sales Report. An index of 100 is equal to the pre-pandemic accepted contracts level. An index of more than 100 is the percentage increase, below 100 is a decline.
While the number of sales is declining, prices are slowly picking up momentum. And there’s a slight demand decline in demand as some of the metrics make small declines while other move sideways.
Declining demand isn’t phasing sellers when it comes to their asking price. The median listing price has increased every month this year and is at an all-time high of $320,910. At the same time, a little over half (51%) of May sales were discounted. The average discount was $11,900.
At mid-month the median sales price increased to $255,000 up from the $250,000 reported in the first-of-the month report. That’s an all-time high. The median sales price marks the middle point where half of the sales were for more and half for less.
Last month’s small pending sales increase absorbed all but eight of the month’s new listings. At month’s end, there was 1.85 months of inventory of existing home on the market. The region has had less than two months of inventory every month since January 2019.
Pending sales in the affordable homes market are down 3.4% from last year.
They were up 19.1% in the move-up market. Most of that increase (49%) was in the $300K – $400k price range. The $400K-$500K sales were up 16%.
The luxury market is down 1.1%.

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