St Louis Pending Home Sales For 2016 Hit Highest Level In Years

Homes are selling in St Louis at a brisk rate evidenced by the fact that pending home sales, those listings that are under contract to a buyer but not yet closed, for 2016 through the end of April increased 9.2% from the same time last year.  As the chart below illustrates, year to date pending home sales in the St Louis 5-County core market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin) thus far this year are at a level higher than we have seen in years!  Pending home sales in the month of April itself barely outperformed April 2015 by 1/2 of 1%.  One of the best ways to get the big picture is to look at pending home sales for the most recent 12 month period and compare that with the prior 12 month period which when we do shows an increase of 9% in pending home sales for the 12 month period ended March 31, 2016.

St Louis Pending Home Sales

Data Source: MARIS

City of St Louis only County With Decline in Pending Home Sales:

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St Louis Pending Home Sales Fall In February From Year Ago

There were 1,875 home pending home sales in the St Louis area (5 county core market) in February, 13.7 percent less than a year ago when there were 2,172 pending home sales.  Listings with a contract on them from a buyer, but have not closed yet, are counted as pending home sales.

On a year to date basis, for the first two months of 2016, there have been 5,251 pending home sales in St Louis, down 2.3% from the same period last year when there were 5,372 sales.  For the 12 month period ending February 29, 2016 there were 25,477 pending home sales, an increase of 8.8% from the prior 12 month period when there were 23,425 pending sales.

On a national leve, pending home sales in February reached their highest level in 7 months and were up from a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS.

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St Louis Pending Home Sales Slip Slightly In January – Prices Up

Pending home sales in St Louis fell slightly last month from a year ago for the 5-county core St Louis market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin). Through the end of last month, there were 3,182 pending home sales for the area, down slightly from 3,200 during the same period a year ago.

St Louis Home Prices are up…

As the chart beneath the pending home sales chart illustrates, the average list price of homes for sale in the 5-county core St Louis market during January are up significantly from the same time last year.  Year to date through last month, the average list price was $247,076, an increase of 8.3 percent from a year ago when the average list price was $228,136.

Homes sold in St Louis in January sold for an average of $192,880, an increase of 4.9% from a year ago when the average sold price was $183,898.

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Pending Home Sales Fall In U.S. But Not In St Louis

Pending home sales in the U.S. fell again in September, to the second lowest level this year, according to a newly released report from the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).  According to the report, pending home sales in the U.S. dropped 2.3 percent in September from the month before.

St Louis Pending Home Sales Increase In September..

In contrast to the national picture, as the charts below show, St Louis Pending Home Sales rose in September, increasing 8.6 percent from September 2014 and on a year to date basis, through the end of September, pending home sales for 2015 are up almost 10 percent (9.9%) from the same time a year ago.

 

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Pending Home Sales In April Hit Highest Level In Nine Years

The pending home sales index, published by the National Association of REALTORS® ,based upon the number of homes that went under contract but have not yet closed yet, hit 112.4 in April, a 3.4% increase from March and a 14% increase from a year ago marking the largest annual increase in almost 3 years (since September 2012) and the highest level for the index since hitting 112.5 in May 2006 during the height of the boom.

St Louis Pending Home Sales On The Rise Too!


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St Louis Pending Home Sales Rise In February

Pending home sales in St Louis rose in February with 1,710 sales pending in the St Louis 5-county core market (city of St Louis and counties of St Louis, St Charles, Jefferson and Franklin), an increase of 17 percent from 1,460 pending home sales the month before, however was a decrease of 11% from February 2014 when there were 1,917 pending home sales in the St Louis 5-county core market.

On a year to data basis pending home sales in 2015 (through the end of February) have increased from the same time last year, with 4,873 pending sales for 2015, an increase of 4% from the same time in 2014 when there had been 4,690 pending home sales.

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Pending Home Sales Slip In St Louis and Throughout Midwest

Pending home sales, those listings that have contracts pending but have not yet closed, declined in St Louis in December 3.2 percent to 1,621 pending home sales from 1,674 sales in December 2013.  For the midwest region of the U.S. as a whole, pending home sales slipped a little in November (the latest month national data is available for) falling one-half of one percent from November 2013, according to the Pending Home Sales Index Report just released by the National Association of REALTORS®.

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Pending Home Sales Down In August; Sales Pace Falling Short Of Last Year

There were 2,017 Pending Home Sales in St Louis (5-county core market) in August, down from 2,293 pending home sales in July and down 6.6% from August 2013 when there were 2,159 pending home sales,, according to MORE, REALTORS.  There have been a total of 15,998 pending home sales in St Louis year to date  through the end of August 2014 which is a decline a 4.9% from the same time last year when there were 16,829 pending home sales.

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St Louis Pending Home Sales Slip In July

St Louis Pending Home Sales slipped in July falling to  a total of  2,654 pending home sales for the 5-county core area of the St Louis market, down 7.8 percent from the month before when there were 2,877 pending home sales, according to MORE, REALTORS.  Year to date through the end of July, there have been 16,789 St Louis Pending Home Sales, down 4.6 percent from the same time last year when there were 17,603 St Louis Pending Home Sales.  On a positive note, pending home sales for the month of July 2014 were slightly higher than they were for the month of July 2013.

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St Louis Pending Home Sales - July 2014
St Louis Real Estate Market Stats - July 2014

St Louis Pending Home Sales Decline

St Louis pending home sales were down in February from a year ago and, thus far, 2014 is off to a slower pace than 2013 in terms of St Louis area home sales.  For the 3-county area, which includes St Louis county, St Charles county and the city of St Louis, there were a total of 2,249 pending home sales in February, down 21% from February 2013 when there were 2,848.  Year to date through the end of February, there have been 4,433 pending home sales in that 3-county area, down 20.4% from a year ago when there were 5,569.

As the charts below illustrate so graphically, one reason behind this slow down in sales could well be the lack of inventory.  The charts show pending home sales as well as active listings for 2014 year to date as well as for the same year-to-date period for each of the prior 4 years and clearly shows two things; home sales were much better this time last year and the number of active listings has shrunk dramatically.

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Decreasing home supply and increasing home sales pointing to higher home prices

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor- Over the past few months I have talked a lot about whether St Louis home prices have hit bottom yet and, in an article about 3 months ago said it appeared they bottomed out last year.  When writing on the topic have stressed that, by the time we see solid proof of the bottom we will be past it and home prices will already be on the rise.  Today’s pending home sales from the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) supports this notion and shows signs that increasing demand and decreasing supply is putting a damper on the rate of recovery of home sales which, NAR says, will lead to higher home prices.  Yesterday it was reported that home prices in the U.S. rose 6.9 percent in the 2nd quarter (according to the Case-Shiller index) and rose over 5 percent during the same period here in St. Louis.

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U.S. Home Sales Slip In June;   Midwest outperforms the rest of the country

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-pending-home-salesThe National Association of REALTORS released its Pending Home Sales Index for June today showing a decrease of 1.4 percent in the index from the month before (seasonally adjusted) and a 9.5 percent increase from a year ago. However, here in the Midwest, the numbers are better with pending home sales decreasing just 0.4 percent from May, the smallest decrease for the month of all the regions, and Midwest pending home sales in June increased 17.3 percent from a year ago, which is the highest year-over-year increase of all regions in the U.S.
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Home sales increase in May;   2012 on track to see 9 to 10 percent more sales than 2011

dennis-norman-st-louis-realtor-pending-home-salesThe National Association of REALTORS released it’s Pending Home Sales Index for May today showing an increase of 5.9 percent in the index from the month before (seasonally adjusted), a 13.3 percent increase from a year ago and is now at the highest level it’s been since April 2010.

Highlights from the report for May, 2012:

  • The pending home sales index (seasonally adjusted) was 101.1 (the index is based upon 100.0 being equal to the average level of sales activity in 2001 which we could call the last “normal” year) which is a 5.9 percent increase from the month before and a 123.3 percent increase from a year ago.

Continue reading “Home sales increase in May;   2012 on track to see 9 to 10 percent more sales than 2011

Pending home sales rise in July; Down 19 percent from the year before

Dennis Norman

After hitting all-time low in June, pending home sales increase 5.2 percent in July

The National Association of REALTORS Pending Home Sales Index for July shows an increase of 5.2 percent in the index in July (seasonally adjusted) which is 19.1 percent below July 2009. Continue reading “Pending home sales rise in July; Down 19 percent from the year before

Pending Home Sales Hit a new Record-Low in June

Dennis Norman

NAR Pending Home Sales Index at Lowest Level Since Index Began in 2001

At dropping 30 percent in May as a result of the rush to buy a home before the April 30th tax credit deadline, the National Association of REALTORS Pending Home Sales Index for June shows a further decline of 2.6 percent in the index in June (seasonally adjusted) which is 18.6 percent below June 2009. While the decrease in home sales was expected, I’m a little surprised we are running so far behind last year (which, might I remind you, wasn’t that great of year for home sales?). Continue reading “Pending Home Sales Hit a new Record-Low in June

Pending Home Sales Index For May Drops to Lowest Level In History of Index

Dennis Norman

There was no question in my mind that home sales would plummet after the April 30th deadline to buy a home and qualify for the home-buyer tax credit passed, the only question was how bad? Today the National Association of REALTORS released it’s Pending Home Sales Index for May showing a decrease of 30.0 percent in the index from April (seasonally adjusted) and a 15.9 percent increase from May 2009. In my past articles I have spoke of a “sugar-rush” created in the market by the tax credits and the sudden slow-down after that wears off…we are now seeing this. Unfortunately the tax-credits could not ‘fix” the market, it was just a band-aid to spur some activity. The market won’t get fixed until the economy is in better shape; people have jobs and the foreclosure rate drops dramatically.

Here are highlights from the report:

  • May’s pending home sales index (seasonally adjusted) was 77.6 (the index is based upon 100.0 being equal to the average level of sales activity in 2001 which we could call the last “normal” year) which is the lowest level the index has hit since NAR began the index in 2001.
  • May’s not-seasonally adjusted index index was 89.0 a 30.3 percent decrease from April and a 15.6 percent decrease from a year ago.
  • All regions in the U.S. saw month-over-month and year-over-year declines in pending home sales.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said “Consumers are rational and they rushed to meet the tax credit eligibility deadline in April. The sharp decline in contract signings in May is a natural result with similar low levels of sales activity anticipated in June,” he said. “Surprisingly, though, some local markets such as Portland, Maine, and Jacksonville, Fla., actually experienced an increase in contract signings from a year ago without the tax credit.”

Pending Home Sales Increase In April as Buyers Rush to Beat Tax Credit Deadline

Dennis Norman

Today the National Association of REALTORS released it’s Pending Home Sales Index for April showing an increase of 6.0 percent in the index from March (seasonally adjusted) and a whopping 22.4 percent increase from April 2009. This comes on the heels of a 5.3 percent increase in March and an 8.3 percent increase in February. If these were pure “market-driven” sales this would be extremely exciting news and point toward a recovery in the real estate market. Unfortunately, everything I see points to this being driven primarily, if not purely, by the April 30th deadline to enter into a contract to purchase a home to receive the home-buyer tax credit.

Here are highlights from the report:

  • April”s pending home sales index (seasonally adjusted) was 110.9 (the index is based upon 100.0 being equal to the average level of sales activity in 2001 which we could call the last “normal” year) which was a 6.0 percent increase in the index from March and an increase of 22.4 percent from the year before.
  • April’s not-seasonally adjusted index index was 133.5 a 11.0 percent increase from March and a 24.6 percent increase from a year ago.
  • The only region that saw a month-over-month decline in pending home sales (seasonally adjusted) was the South region, after having the largest month-over-month increase last month, it saw a decrease of 0.6 percent from March, but was still up 31.3 percent from a year ago.
  • The Northeast had the largest month-over-month increase in pending home sales (seasonally adjusted) with a 29.5 percent increase from March.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said this second round of surging sales from the tax credit extension looks as strong as the original tax credit. “There were concerns that only a small pool of buyers were left to take advantage of the tax credit extension. But evidently the tax stimulus, combined with improved consumer confidence and low mortgage interest rates, are contributing to surging sales,” he said. “The housing market has to get back on its own feet and now appears to be in a good position to return to sustainable levels even without government stimulus, provided the economy continues to add jobs.” NAR expects a net of 1 million additional jobs in the second half of this year and about 2 million in 2011.

Pending Home Sales Continue On The Rise In March

Dennis Norman

Today the National Association of REALTORS released it’s Pending Home Sales Index for March showing an increase of 5.3 percent in the index from February  (seasonally adjusted) and a whopping 21.1 percent increase from March 2009.  This follows an 8.3 percent increase in February so it is definitely creating a nice trend that makes me somewhat optimistic.  We should remember though, in March and April we are expecting to see home sales spike as buyers rush to buy before the April 30th deadline to have a home under contract to qualify for the homebuyer tax credit.

Here are highlights from the report:

  • March”s pending home sales index (seasonally adjusted) was 102.9 (the index is based upon 100.0 being equal to the average level of sales activity in 2001 which we could call the last “normal” year) which was a 5.3 percent increase in the index from February and an increase of 21.1 percent from the year before.
  • March’s not-seasonally adjusted index index was at 118.4, a 32.9 percent increase from February and a 23.5 percent increase from a year ago.
  • The only region that saw a month-over-month decline in pending home sales (seasonally adjusted) was the Northeast region with a decrease of 3.3 percent from February.
  • The South had the largest month-over-month increase in pending home sales (seasonally adjusted) with a 12.7 percent increase from February, and also had the largest year-over-year increase as well with a 28.3 percent increase from March 2009.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said favorable affordability conditions have been working with the tax credit. “Clearly the home buyer tax credit has helped stabilize the market. In the months immediately following the expiration of the tax credit, we expect measurably lower sales,” he said. “Later in the second half of the year, and into 2011, home sales will likely become self-sustaining if the economy can add jobs at a respectable pace, and from a return of buyer demand as they see home values stabilizing.”

St Louis Real Estate – Home Sales Jump In February

Dennis Norman

Today the National Association of REALTORS released it’s February Pending Home Sales Index showing a increase of 8.2 percent (seasonally adjusted) in the index for the U.S. from January and a 17.3 percent increase from last year.  The Midwsest region had the best results with February home sales increasing 21.8 percent from January. 

Here in St. Louis, home sales in February increased at an even greater rate.  The City of St. Louis had the largest 1-month increase at 62.6 percent, followed by Jefferson County with an increase in pending sales of 34.1 percent, St. Charles County with a 26.9 percent increase and St. Louis County with a 23.8 percent increase.  February’s pending sales were significantly better than a year ago for all four areas as well. 

As the charts below reflect, not only has the rate of pending home sales increased in the metro area, but closed sales have increased as well and the inventory of homes for sale has declined; all positive signs! 

St. Louis City:

st-louis-city-february-2010-pending-home-sales

Source: Mid-America Regional Information Systems

st-louis-city-february-2010-pending-home-sales-table-vs-history

Source: Mid-American Regional Information Systems, Inc.

St. Louis County:

st-louis-county-february-2010-pending-home-sales

Source: Mid-American Regional Information Systems, Inc.

Source: Mid-American Regional Information Systems, Inc.

St.Charles County:

st-charles-february-2010-pending-home-sales

Source: Mid-American Regional Information Systems, Inc.

st-charles-february-2010-pending-home-sales-history
Jefferson County:
jefferson-county-pending-home-sales-february-2010
jefferson-county-pending-home-sales-february-2010-history

St. Louis Real Estate – Realtor Pending Home Sales Index shows Real Estate Market Leveling off

Dennis Norman

 Today the National Association of REALTORS released it’s December Pending Home Sales Index showing an increase of 1.0 percent in the index from November (seasonally adjusted) and a 10.9 percent increase from last year. 

Here are highlights from the report:

  • December”s pending home sales index (seasonally adjusted) was 96.6 (the index is based upon 100.0 being equal to the average level of sales activity in 2001 which we could call the last “normal” year) which was a 1.0% increase in the index from November and an increase of 10.9 percent from the year before.
  • December”s not-seasonally adjusted index index was at 64.0, a 18.1 percent decrease from November and a 10.5 percent increase from a year ago.

Oh yeah, now that I have given my take on things, you can see what Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for NAR, has to say about it:

Let’s play ‘spin the data’

Dennis Norman

Or should I say “It’s all in the headline”?

 

So what am I talking about? The pending home sales data that was released by the National Association of REALTORS today, of course. Actually I could be referring to any data on the housing market whether new home sales, foreclosure rates, interest rates, existing home sales or inventories of homes for sale.

There only major housing report that was released today was the Pending Home Sales Index for November by NAR. Being a report based upon data you would think the numbers speak for themselves; ah, but that is before the “spin” gets put on the data, beginning with the headlines (or in blog post titles…OK, I’m a big boy, I’ll admit it, the titles of my blog posts reflect my view of the data).

So here is how it went this morning after the Pending Home Sales data came out:

NAR’s press release headline: “Pending Home Sales Down From Surge but Higher Than a Year Ago”

Fox Networks Breaking business news headling: “PENDING HOME SALES DROP 16% IN NOVEMBER, LARGEST DECLINE ON RECORD”

Hmm…NAR says sales “down” but hey, higher than a year ago (remember a year ago, one of the worst housing markets since the depression….do you feel better knowing we are beating that year?

Fox says “largest decline on record”….wow, that sounds ugly especially since 2009 is supposed to end up being a better year for home sales than 2008.

So what is reality? Or at least reality in my opinion (for whatever that is worth) based upon the data?

For starters, remember the Pending Home Sales Index is probably, in my humble opinion, one of the least accurate indicators of the housing market that NAR produces. Why? Well, for starters, the index counts a “sale” as pending “when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed” and is based on a national sample typically representing “about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales”. Therefore there is a lot of room for error, not to mention there is an increasing percentage of “sales” that do not close today due to appraisal issues, financing issues, short sales that are not approved, etc. The index is strictly based upon “quantity” of contracts to buy, not necessarily “quality” of contracts to buy.

Having said that, let’s look at the numbers:

  • November’s pending home sales index (seasonally adjusted) was 96.0 (the index is based upon 100.0 being equal to the average level of sales activity in 2001 which we could call the last “normal” year)
  • November’s index was down 16.0 percent from October’s revised index of 114.3 and up 15.5 percent from November, 2008’s index of 83.1
  • November’s index was the lowest since June, 2009 when the index was 94.6
  • November’s pending home sales index (NOT seasonally adjusted) was 78.4, down 27.7 percent from October, up 19.3 percent from a year ago and the lowest index since February, 2009 when the index was 75.3

What I make of these numbers is that people were scrambling to buy homes before the homebuyer tax credit expired on November 30th (it has since been extended) and that produced “unseasonally” high numbers for the few months proceeding the deadline. However, by November this surge was over and things settled down.

So what would I have made the title of this post if I wasn’t trying to be clever? “Pending home sales drop after a “sugar-rush” caused by expiring tax credits”

Oh yeah, now that I have given my take on things, you can see what Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for NAR, has to say about it.

Pending home sales rise for ninth consecutive month

yun_lawrence_100x144

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, NAR

Is the increase real or have the tax-credits created an “artificial” market that cannot be sustained?

Today the National Association of REALTORS(R) issued their Pending Home Sales Index Report for October showing pending sales in the U.S. rose again for the ninth consecutive month – marking the longest streak since since NAR began the pending home sale index in 2001.

As I have expressed previously, I’m somewhat cautious about getting too excited about these recent encouraging reports on the housing market as I feel we still have many challenges out there.

Dennis Norman
Dennis Norman

For starters, the home-buyer tax credit which has clearly stimulated the market as buyers raced to buy a home to claim the credit before it expired on November 30, 2009 (it has since been extended to April 30, 2010) is just creating an “artificial” market in my opinion and we are still seeing nearly record numbers of foreclosures and mortgage delinquencies which are going to continue to put downward pressure on the market. An unemployment rate in excess of 10 percent isn’t helping either. Continue reading “Pending home sales rise for ninth consecutive month

Pending home sales in midwest rise 8.1 percent in September

yun_lawrence_100x144

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, NAR

Today the National Association of REALTORS(R) issued their Pending Home Sales Index Report for September showing pending sales in the U.S. rose again for the eighth consecutive month – marking the longest streak since since NAR began the pending home sale index in 2001.  The pending home sales index for the US rose 6.1 percent from August.  Here in the Midwest the pending home sales index rose 8.1 percent from August marking the third month in a row the index in the Midwest increased.

As I have expressed previously, I’m somewhat cautious about getting too excited about these recent encouraging reports on the housing market as I feel we still have many challenges out there.

Dennis Norman
Dennis Norman

For starters, the home-buyer tax credit, which was stimulated home sales in the past couple of months, is set to expire the end of this month. Congress may extend it and if so that will be another shot in the arm for the housing market however we are still seeing nearly record numbers of foreclosures and mortgage delinquencies which are going to continue to put downward pressure on the market. The nearly 10 percent unemployment rate isn’t helping either. Continue reading “Pending home sales in midwest rise 8.1 percent in September

US Pending Home sales increase in July; Midwest home sales decrease by 2 percent

yun_lawrence_100x144

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, NAR

By: Dennis Norman

Today the National Association of REALTORS(R) issued their Pending Home Sales Index Report for July showing pending sales in the U.S. were up for the sixth consecutive month, the best streak since NAR began the pending home sale index in 2001.

Here in the Midwest pending home sales for July were not as strong showing a 2.0 percent drop from June, however still 8.1% above a year ago.  The only other region that saw a decline in month to month pending home sales in July was the Northeast with a 3.0 percent decrease from June. Continue reading “US Pending Home sales increase in July; Midwest home sales decrease by 2 percent

June pending home sales increase
Midwest up 11.6% from a year ago

yun_lawrence_100x144

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, NAR

By: Dennis Norman

Today the National Association of REALTORS(R) issued their Pending Home Sales Index Report for June showing pending sales in the U.S. were up for the fifth consecutive month, the first time in six-years for such a streak.

Here in the Midwest pending home sales were only up 0.8% from May, but were up a whopping 11.6% from this time a year ago, the largest year over year increase of the four regions in the U.S.

The pending home sales index for the Midwest rose 0.8% to 89.9 from a level of 89.2 in May, and was down only 0.05% from Aprils 90.4. April, 2009, had the highest index in the past 12 months, and June 2009 is now the 2nd highest showing clearly that there are signs of life in the market and that we have possibly seen the bottom.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said a combination of positive market factors is fueling the gains. “Historically low mortgage interest rates, affordable home prices and large selection are encouraging buyers who’ve been on the sidelines. Activity has been consistently much stronger for lower price homes,” he said.

To see an interview with Lawrence Yun by REALTOR(R) Magazine click here.