Pending home sales, an indicator of what is coming at the end of the current quarter, is down slightly nationally and could be a warning signal of slower sales in the next several months.
This might put a damper on the fourth quarter home sales which has been expected to be better than in previous years and follow a very successful third quarter for realtors, industry watchers say.
The Pending Home Sales Index “fell 5.6 percent to 101.6 in September from a downwardly revised 107.6 in August, and is 1.2 percent below September 2012 when it was 102.8. The index is at the lowest level since December 2012 when it was 101.3; the data reflect contracts but not closings,” reports the National Association of Realtors Monday morning.
Earlier reports of a smashing third quarter home sales in Westchester-Rockland-Putnam counties in our Lohud region might be affected by these emerging numbers.
Greg Hein of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in White Plains said he is indeed noticing a pause in the market after a robust third quarter.
“My experience is everybody rushed out at once in the spring market of 2013. It doesn’t surprise me that things have slowed down a bit—many buyers decide to start their search in the new year. I do expect a very healthy spring market in 2014,” he said Monday afternoon.
The regional Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors does not release numbers until the end of each quarter.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, was reported as saying the government shutdown contributed to the decline in signed contracts.
“In addition, government and contract workers were on the sidelines with growing insecurity over lawmakers’ inability to agree on a budget. A broader hit on consumer confidence from general uncertainty also curbs major expenditures such as home purchases,” he said.
It is the first time in 29 months that pending home sales weren’t above year-ago levels.