Pending Home Sales Saw Record Rebound in May

'The outlook has significantly improved'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2020 6:09 PM CDT
Pending Home Sales Saw Record Rebound in May
Aan "Under Contract" sign is displayed in front of a home for sale in Raymond, NH.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

(Newser) – The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes rebounded a record 44.3% in May after a record-breaking decline the previous month, as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic sidelined both buyers and sellers. The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its index of pending sales rose to 99.6 in May, the highest month-over-month gain in the index since since its inception in January 2001. The pending home sales index plunged 21.8% from March to April to a level of 69. The contract signings—a barometer of finalized purchases over the next two months—have fallen 5.1% over the past year, but Monday's better-than-expected pending home sales data offers some optimism for the housing market, which was severely hampered by the pandemic, the AP reports.

Sales of both existing and new homes fell sharply during the traditional spring selling season as communities were locked down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, last week the government reported that sales of new homes rose a surprisingly strong 16.6% in May as major parts of the country reopened. "The outlook has significantly improved, as new home sales are expected to be higher this year than last, and annual existing-home sales are now projected to be down by less than 10%— even after missing the spring buying season due to the pandemic lockdown," says NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun.

(Read more home sales stories.)

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