The National Association of Realtors released its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) for December. The index tracks signed but not yet closed contracts for existing home sales. In December the index rose 1.6% to 109.0, from 107.3 in November. The PHSI is a leading indicator for existing home sales (closed sales contracts) in the following month or two, the typical gap between signed and closed sales contracts.
The uptick in the PHSI points to a modest increase in existing home sales in January (to be released February 22), although, monthly volatility notwithstanding, the trends in both the PHSI and existing home sales have been roughly flat over most of 2015 and 2016.