Pending home sales for September were down 1.8%, to 80.9, after increases in July and August. The National Association of Realtors predicted Friday that there would be an uneven recovery going into 2011, punctuated by “near-term disruptions” from the foreclosure moratorium.
The Pending Home Sales Index dropped on September contract signings, which were down from August’s upwardly revised figure of 82.4. That’s down 24.9% from the September 2009 index of 107.8, when first-time buyers surged into the market to benefit from the government’s tax credit before its November 2009 expiration, which was later extended to April 30.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement that, despite the slump and anticipated rocky showing due to the moratorium, the “pent-up demand . . . eventually will be unleashed as banks resolve their issues with foreclosures and the labor market improves. However, tight credit and appraisals coming in below a negotiated price continue to constrain the market.”
In the Northeast, a 1.7% drop from 59.6 was 28.3% lower than in 2009; the Midwest’s index drop was 5.7%, 33% lower than September of 2009 at 64.2; sales in the South dropped by 3.5%, to 87.6, down 19.1% from last year. But in the West the index rose 3.5%, although at 104.6 it is still 24.7% under last year’s level.