Pending home sales fall 4.7 percent, after posting a sharp gain in April, NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for May slipped by 4.7 percent and was 14 percent below 2007 levels. While the decline reflects continued softness in the market, there was some good news in the West, which includes California. There, pending sales slipped only 1.3 percent in May and were 2 percent higher than a year ago.

The national index registered 84.7 on a scale where 100 equals the rate of pending sales during 2001, when the index was initiated. It stood at 98.5 in May 2007. The national decline was driven by the South, where the index fell 7.1 percent to 84.5, 22 percent below last year’s figure, and the Midwest, which experienced a 6 percent decline to 78.6, 13.8 percent lower than a year ago.

Despite the higher-than-expected national decline, the West region index fell to 97.5 in May led by Sacramento, which experienced double-digit gains in pending sales as homebuyers continued to take advantage of favorable home prices and interest rates.

NAR President and Long Beach REALTOR® Richard (Dick) Gaylord noted that the current market offers short-term benefits and long-term value for home buyers. He warned that buyers should consider the potential that interest rates may increase slightly should inflationary fears arise.

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