June pending home sales were 1.6% higher than a year earlier, marking the first annual gain in 17 months, CNBC reports.
Consumers signed more contracts to buy existing homes than expected in June. So-called pending home sales rose 2.8% compared with May, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were 1.6% higher compared with June 2018, the first annual gain in 17 months. Signed contracts are an indicator of closed home sales one to three months out.
Mortgage rates fell sharply throughout May and June. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage stood at 4.29% on May 1 and ended June at 3.81%, according to Mortgage News Daily. That improved affordability, but apparently not enough. Home prices are high and still gaining in most major markets. Home price gains widened in seven major markets in May, according to the latest S&P Case-Shiller home price indices.
Regionally, the Realtors’ pending home sales index rose 2.7% in the Northeast month-to-month and was 0.9% higher than a year ago. In the Midwest, the index grew 3.3% monthly and 1.7% annually. In the South, the index increased 1.3% monthly and 1.4% annually. In the West pending sales jumped 5.4% monthly and were 2.5% higher than a year ago.