Pending home sales post small seasonal gain

Published 3:35 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2023

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The local housing market saw a small seasonal pending sales uptick last month. They’ve increased in August in four of the last six years before arching lower as the market enters the fall season.

August’s pending home sales pace increased 5.1 percent from July. The effect will be more of a flattening out sales totals next month than a spike. Buyers accepted 14 more contracts (1.7 percent) than they did this time last year. At mid-year, the total was 797.

Pending sales represent homes that have a signed purchase contract but have not closed. They lead existing home sales data by one to two months.

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NETAR Pending Sales Index increased four points to 122 from the previous month. The index removes some of the noise from the monthly raw numbers and benchmarks how the market is performing against a pre-pandemic baseline. The index is a forward-looking indicator based on the 2018 annual average for signed contracts instead of closings. An index of 100 is equal to the pre-pandemic accepted contracts level. An index of over 100 is the percentage increase, below 100 is a decline.

August’s mid-month report also revised the number of closings upward. And there was a small increase in the average and median sales prices. Mid-month data typically see increases after closings filed too late for the first-of-the-month tally are added. Last month’s revision added 21 closings to the sales total and $1,890 to the median sales price. The new sales total is 726, down 11.5% from last year, and the new median price is $259,650, up 6.5 percent from last year.

Sellers reduced the median asking price by almost $1,400 last month and the percentage of discounted sales dropped to 49 percent. The average discount dropped to $17,237 from $21,77 in July.

There were 228 pending sales in the affordable homes market last month. That’s 35 more than July and down 20 from last year.

There was also a small gain in the move-up market. It increased by nine contracts – up by 24 from August last year. The move-up price ranges that posted an increase were the $300K-399,999 and $400K to $499,999 grouping. There were 335 pending sales in the move-up market.

Accepted contracts in the Luxury Market increased 25 percent in August. There were 85 new pending sales in the $500K and up market.