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Pending Home Sales Plunge in April, But Demand Signals a Rebound

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Pending Home Sales Plunge in April, But Demand Signals a Rebound

May 29, 2020
Aerial of homes in Fort Worth
By Chris Burk

Though April housing demand signals the start of a recovery, the month's number of pending sales reflected the strain in previous months due to stay-at-home orders and uncertain economic conditions. Pending home sales plummeted 21.8 percent in April compared with March, falling further than economists expected, according to CNBC. They fell 33.8 percent annually, the largest decline since NAR started tracking pending home sales in 2001, and Lawerence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, predicts May will dip even further before the returning demand translates into actual sales. 

Pending home sales, which measure signed contracts on existing homes, fell a steeper-than-expected 21.8% in April, compared with March, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were down 33.8% compared with April 2019. That is the largest decline since the NAR began tracking this metric in January 2001.

“With nearly all states under stay-at-home orders in April, it is no surprise to see the markedly reduced activity in signing contracts for home purchases,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

Regionally, pending sales in the Northeast fell 48.2% month to month and were 52.6% lower than a year ago. In the Midwest, sales dropped 15.9% for the month, and were down 26% from April 2019. Sales in the South fell 15.4% monthly and 29.6% annually. In the West dropped 20% monthly and 37.2% annually.

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