Pending home sales remained essentially flat in January, edging up just 0.1 percent after hitting their lowest level since November 2011 in December amid unusually cold weather conditions, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported.
Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed to purchase homes, were down 9 percent year over year, according to NAR.
“Ongoing disruptive weather patterns in much of the U.S. inhibited home shopping,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement. “Limited inventory also is playing a role, especially in the West, while credit remains tight and affordability isn’t as favorable as it was a year ago.”
NAR said it expects existing-home sales to be weak in the first quarter of 2014 before picking up in the middle part of the year. For 2014 overall, the trade group projected home sales to fall slightly from 2013′s level to 5 million. NAR said it also believes home prices will rise by 5 to 6 percent.