The Pending Home Sales Index declined 2.5% in January, but has increased year-over-year for 17 consecutive months. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), decreased 2.5% in January to 106.0 from an upwardly revised 108.7 December, and was 1.4% above the same month a year ago.
The PHSI increased slightly in the South by 0.3%, but fell in the remaining three regions, ranging from a 3.2% decrease in the Northeast to a 4.9% decrease in the Midwest. Year-over-year, three regions increased, ranging from 10.9% in the Northeast to 0.4% in the West. The South decreased 1.3% from the same month a year ago.
Existing sales increased 11.0% in 2015, and improving economic conditions and rising employment suggest a continuing recovery in existing sales. However, both housing starts and new home sales stumbled in January. Also, the long-term weakness among first-time buyers will continue to dampen all sales in 2016.