U.S. Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Slump 1.5% In April

(RTTNews) - After reporting a sharp increase in U.S. pending home sales in the previous month, the National Association of Realtors released a report on Thursday showing pending home sales unexpectedly pulled back in the month of April.

NAR said its pending home sales index tumbled by 1.5 percent to 104.3 in April after surging up by 3.9 percent to an upwardly revised 105.9 in March.

The pullback came as a surprise to economists, who had expected pending home sales to climb by 0.9 percent compared to the 3.8 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

With the monthly decrease, pending home sales in April were down by 2.0 percent compared to the same month a year ago, reflecting the 16th straight month of annual declines.

A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said the unexpected drop in pending sales has yet to account for some of the more favorable trends toward homeownership, such as lower mortgage rates.

"Though the latest monthly figure shows a mild decline in contract signings, mortgage applications and consumer confidence have been steadily rising," Yun said. "It's inevitable for sales to turn higher in a few months."

Pending home sales plunged by 2.5 percent in the South and slumped by 1.8 percent in both the Northeast and West. On the other hand, pending home sales in the Midwest surged up by 1.3 percent.

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