Northeast home sales down due to “unusually bad” winter weather

The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading housing sector indicator based on signed contracts for homes that have not closed, increased 2.1 percent nationwide to 90.8 in February compared to a month earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors, but still lags significantly behind the 98.9 mark recorded a year ago. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.

The index bottomed out in June 2010 when the homebuyer tax credit expired, and is up 20 percent since that low.

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The Northeast was the only region in the country to suffer a decline in February, as the Pending Home Sales Index fell 10.9 percent to 65.5. But Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, attributed the decline to “unusually bad” winter weather.

Yun also said that he was encouraged by the report.

“Pending home sales have trended up very nicely since bottoming out last June, even with periodic monthly declines,” he said. TRD