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NAR Home Sales Index Rises in October



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By : Rudson Tren    99 or more times read
There is another piece of encouraging news for the US home industry. The number of homebuyers who entered into contracts to purchase homes rose in October. It was the third monthly increase in the data since home-buying contract signings dropped to its lowest in the decade.

The National Association of Realtors’ index of sales contracts jumped 10.4% in October. Such contract signings rose in all regions across the US except in the West. The index covered purchase contracts that involve previously occupied, including foreclosed homes, which are up for sale.

The gain in home sales contracts in October was about 18.3% higher than the index in June, which was the record lowest level for the entire decade. NAR started tracking such signed home sale contracts in 2001. The October increase was still 20.5% lower compared to the index in October 2009. The record highest level of the index was in May 2006, which came prior to the historic collapse of the national housing market.

The increase came somehow as a surprise. Most economists had expected a decline in such home contract agreements. They underlined the numerous and grievous problems that the housing industry has been facing.

It should also be noted that last year, more homebuyers got into contracts to buy existing or already occupied homes. That is because at the same month in 2009, more homebuyers rushed to enjoy a buying spree in the market to take advantage of the federal government’s tax credit offers.

The US government last year offered home-buying tax breaks to consumers who were at that time considering acquiring homes. The aim was logically and obviously to help the housing market rebound through bolstered sales. The tax credit was originally set for a November expiration, but it was extended to April 2010.

It should also be noted that after the expiry of the tax credit program, total housing activities slumped. The trend raised concerns about the possible prolonged duration of the industry’s recovery from a severe housing downturn. The increase of sales contracts in October is a positive indication that recovery could be on the way, finally.

The rise in contracts defied disappointing factors in the period. Analysts noted that in October, unemployment rates remained high and home mortgage activities declined due to lenders’ actions to make loan standards stricter.

Contract signings for home purchases rose 27.3% in the Midwest region, 19.6% in the Northeast region, and 7.1% in the South region. The index dropped 0.4% in the West region.
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