After hitting 3-year high in February, pending home sales plunged sharply to its lowest level in March since May 2011, as coronavirus pandemic shut down most economic activity.
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), is a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts. The PHSI sank 20.8% from 111.4 in February to 88.2 in March, the largest monthly drop since 2010. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 16.3% lower than a year ago.
Regionally, all four major regions saw a decline in month-over-month contract activity, as well as growth in year-over-year pending home sales transactions. The PHSI in the West suffered the most, with 26.8% down from last month and 21.5% down from last year.
Though the housing market is grappling with coronavirus lockdown, NAR suggested that buying activity would resume after government safely and cautiously reopens the economy, as mortgage rates have remained record low.
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