The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its pending home sales index, which measures the number of purchase contracts signed, fell 1.7% last month. The signed contracts become final purchases 1-2 months later.
Still, declining mortgage rates over time have lifted home sales. The index is up 4.4% from a year ago.
In October, contracts increased in the Northeast but fell in the South, West and Midwest.
“While contract signings have decreased, the overall economic landscape remains favorable,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Mortgage rates continue to be low at below 4% – which will attract buyers – employment levels are strong and many recession claims have dissipated.”
Pointing to data from active listings at realtor.com®, Yun says the markets where listing prices are around $250,000 – an affordable price point in most markets nationally – are drawing some of the most significant buyer attention, including Fort Wayne, Ind., Pueblo, Colo., Columbus, Ohio, Rochester, N.Y., and Lafayette, Ind.
“We still need to address and, more importantly, correct inadequate levels of inventory across the country,” Yun said. “There is no shortage of buyers seeking homes, but a lack of available units continues to drag down the nation’s housing market and overall economy.”