Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released its Pending Home Sales Index for August. (The PHSI measures contracts signed during the month, compared with the monthly Housing Sales Report, that measures closed sales, and is considered a leading indicator of housing activity.) The August Pending Home Sales Index rose 4.3% nationally to 110.1 from 105.6 in July, but was still down 14.1% from August 2005. In the northeast, the August 95.4 number was up 3.6% over July, but 12.4% below August ’05.
The uptick in August’s PHSI over July is a good sign, that the housing markets are beginning to stabilize. I’ve definitely seen an upturn here, particularly in the moderately priced segments of the market. While I doubt we’ll see market activity at the frenzied levels of 2005 for quite some time, there is definitely a more optimistic psychology returning.