Pending home sales increased 2.4 percent in February, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on Monday. The rise in the pending home sales index (PHSI) occurred for the second consecutive month with all four major regions reporting an increase in month-over-month contracts and growth in annual pending home sales from February 2019 by 9.4 percent.
However, the increase in pending home sales does not yet reflect the hit the market incurred as the coronavirus outbreak arrived in greater force in March.
“February’s pending sales figures show the housing market had been very healthy prior to the coronavirus-induced shutdown,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Numbers in the coming weeks will show just how hard the housing market was hit, but I am optimistic that the upcoming stimulus package will lessen the economic damage and we may get a V-shaped robust recovery later in the year.”
Some of the markets that earned the most demand in February included Colorado Springs, Colorado; Lafayette, Indiana; Modesto, California; Rochester, New York; and Sacramento, California.
The West region saw the greatest index increase in February, with a rise of 4.6 percent from January 2020 to 97.1. The region’s year-over-year increase jumpws by 10.8 percent. The Midwest also saw a significant index increase, with a rise of 4.5 percent from January to 110.1, resulting in an annual increase of 14.9 percent from February 2019.
Although less significant, the Northeast also saw a PHSI increase of 2.8 percent to 96.3 in February, a 5.9 percent increase year-over-year. In the South, the PHSI just barely rose by 0.1 percent to 129.2. However, that number is a 7.1 increase annually from February 2019.
“Housing, just like most other industries, suffered from the coronavirus crisis, but once this predicament is behind us and the habit of social distancing is respected, I’m encouraged there will be continued home transactions though with more virtual tours, electronic signatures, and external home appraisals,” Yun said.