Bad news today for the housing market. The Pending Homes Sales Index of the National Association of Realtors, which is based on contracts signed in February, fell 1.9% to 84.6. That was its lowest reading since the series began in 1999. It was down from an upwardly revised reading of 86.2 in January. It was also down 21.4% from the same period a year earlier.
Lawrence Yun, the Realtors’ upbeat chief economist, gave the figures a positive interpretation, saying in a press release:
“The slip in pending home sales implies we’re not out of the woods yet, though an era of successive deep sales declines appears to be over.”
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.