Industry News

NAR pending sales index nears 6-year low

Group's economist says 'mortgage disruptions' play a role

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An index that measures pending sales of resale homes dropped in July to its lowest level since September 2001, the National Association of Realtors reported today. The Pending Home Sale Index, which is based on signed contracts for transactions that have not yet closed, dropped 16.1 percent in July compared to July 2006, to a reading of 89.9. That compares to an index rating of 89.8 in September 2001. Pending sales are typically finalized within one or two months of signing, the association reported. An index score of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity for the full year in 2001, which was the first year to be examined in the association's index and the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales. Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist, said in a statement, "It's difficult to fully account for mortgage disruptions in the index, and our members are telling us some sales contracts aren't closing because mortgage commitments have been falling...