Monday, December 10, 2007

Pending Home Sales Up For Second Straight Month

From Bloomberg:

“The National Association of Realtors' index of pending sales climbed 0.6 percent, following a revised 1.4 percent increase in September that was bigger than initially estimated, the group said today in Washington.

‘We're not likely to see any further collapse at this point,’ said Richard DeKaser, chief economist at National City Corp. in Cleveland, who had forecast a gain. ‘I'm not optimistic about the outlook for the housing market, but we're scraping bottom in the fourth quarter.’

The gains in September and October follow the biggest back- to-back drop since records began in 2001. The Federal Reserve is likely to cut its benchmark interest rate tomorrow to prevent the housing recession and higher borrowing costs from weakening the broader economy, economists said.”

From Reuters:

“Economists polled by Reuters before the report were expecting pending home sales to decline 1 percent.

The stronger-than-expected data helped U.S. stock prices extend gains in early morning trade.

Year-over-year, pending sales were down 18.4 percent, the third largest drop since the trade group began keeping such records in January 2001. A sale is said to be pending when a contract has been signed but the sale has not yet closed.”

From USA Today:

“The trade group's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, cited job growth and the replacement of subprime lenders to borrowers with weak credit with government-backed loans as reasons for the improved outlook.

‘Despite over-exaggerated negative coverage on the housing conditions, many local markets are actually seeing price increases,’ Yun said at a press briefing. ‘Mortgage availability is improving’

The trade group also said its index that forecasts near-term home sales inched upward in October. The trade group's seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes rose 0.6% to 87.2 from an upwardly revised September index of 86.7, but was down 18.4% from a year ago — the third-largest year-over year decline on record.”

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