The Pending Home Sales Index increased 1.4% in March to the highest level in since last May, and has increased year-over-year for 19 consecutive months. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased to 110.5 in March from a downwardly revised 109.0 in February, and was 1.4% above the same month a year ago.
The PHSI increased 3.2% in the Northeast and 3.0% in the South, while remaining essentially flat in the Midwest and decreasing 1.8% in the West. Year-over-year, the PHSI increased 18.4% in the Northeast and 4.0% in the Midwest, while decreasing 7.9% in the West and 0.6% in the South. NAR attributed the continued slide in the West to the rapid increase in median home prices by 38% over the past three years.
Existing sales rebounded 5.1% in March, and the PHSI and low mortgage rates suggest a continuing steady recovery throughout this spring and into the summer. However, the long-term weakness among first-time buyers continues to dampen all sales in 2016.