Employees who have the option to work from anywhere are increasingly buying homes in the Midwest and South, with affordability playing a key reason in the decision.
Home contract signings rose across the country in August after falling for two straight months, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors.
NAR’s pending home sales index, which looks at contracts signed for single-family homes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 8.1 percent from July. The news wasn’t all good, however. Contracts were down 8.3 percent from August 2020, a period when the housing market jumped following pandemic lockdowns.
“Rising inventory and moderating price conditions are bringing buyers back into the market,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Affordability, however, remains challenging as home price gains are roughly three times wage growth.”
Of the four major regions, the Midwest and South saw the biggest monthly increases.
The number of contracts signed in the Midwest rose 10.4 percent from July, though it was down nearly 6 percent year over year.
In the South — where there were more overall contracts signed than in the Midwest — pending sales numbers increased 8.6 percent from July. That, too, was lower — 6.3 percent — than in August 2020.
The monthly spikes in the South and Midwest were not surprising, Yun said. Employees who have the flexibility to work from anywhere are choosing to live in more affordable places, he said. Broadly, those two regions would qualify.
August contract signings rose in the other regions as well. The West saw a 7.2 increase from July, while the Northeast ticked up 4.6 percent. Both regions were also down from their August 2020 figures: 9.2 percent and 15.8 percent, respectively.