The Pending Home Sales Index increased 5.5% in February 2017 to its highest level since April 2016, and the second highest since May 2006. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased to 112.3 in February, up from 106.4 in January and up 2.6% from the same month a year ago.
The PHSI increased in all four regions, ranging from 11.4% in the Midwest to 3.1% in the West. Year-over-year, the PHSI increased 6.6% in the Northeast and 4.2% in the South, while falling slightly in the West and Midwest.
February existing sales were slowed by inventory constraints, and these shortages are expected to continue, especially in the lower- and mid-market price ranges. However, builder sentiment remains strong, and new home sales are trending positive. As the economy continues to add jobs, increased demand among first-time buyers will help fuel new and existing sales in 2017.