Industry News

Real estate pending sales index tumbles

West, Midwest see largest annual decline

The rate of pending home sales slowed in March, slipping 1.2 percent from February and 6 percent compared to March 2005, the National Association of Realtors reported today. The association's Pending Home Sales Index fell for the third consecutive month. Regionally, the index in the Northeast rose 5.2 percent in March to 112.9 but was 1.1 percent below March 2005. In the West, the index increased 0.7 percent in March to 111 but was 13.3 percent below a year ago. The index in the South eased 1.2 percent to 127.9 in March and was 1.6 percent lower than March 2005. The index in the Midwest fell 7.4 percent to 106.1 in March and was 9.3 percent below a year ago. The index is derived from pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed and the transaction has not closed; pending sales typically are finalized within a month or two of signing, the trade group reported. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2...