NAR (the National Association of Realtors) just released the April Pending Home Sales Index showing a 3.7% drop nationally in pending sales in April (compared to March’s numbers), and down 11.7% from April, 2005. In the northeast region (numbers are only broken out by region, not by state), April’s pending home sales were 5.5% lower than March, 2006 and 9.3% below April, 2005.
The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator, as it compiles data on houses in contract but not yet closed. (Pending sales are expected to close within 30 to 60 days of reporting.) The drop in the Pending Sales Index was a bit steeper than April’s Existing Home Sales Report (which reports closed sales, and is more a trailing indicator) which showed a 2.5% seasonally adjusted drop regionally, indicating we may be heading into a period of sales declines in the 10% range regionally over the next few months.
The interesting thing about all of this data (both closed and pending sales) is the relative strength of the numbers. While they are certainly down from the peaks of the hot 2005 market, they’re just not showing a real estate market collapse, and in fact are running close to 2003/2004, which were considered very healthy years.
In a few days, I should have the May data on closed Sullivan County sales, and will be posting my monthly "Current Market Conditions" update asnd analysis. Stay tuned!