Pending home sales fall

Fewer buyers signed contracts to buy homes in August compared to July, according to the latest pending home sales report by the National Association of Realtors.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales index declined 2.6 percent to 99.2 in August, but it is 10.7 percent above August 2011. The decline comes after contract activity had reached its highest levels since April 2010, when buyers rushed to beat the deadline for homebuyer tax credit.

Could the latest numbers be a sign that the recovering housing market is softening again?

NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun says he is “not concerned at all.”

He says volatility in monthly data is normal.

“If one looks at the buyers’ interest, that remains very strong in our Realtor’s survey,” he says in a video interview posted on the Realtors’ website.

Yun says the areas with declining contract signings actually are areas he characterizes as “hot markets.” Those areas include Phoenix, Las Vegas and South Florida. He claims there is a shortage of homes for sale in some parts of the country.

Home prices will continue to rise through the rest of the year and in 2013, he says. He expects prices to rise 5 percent in 2012 and in 2013.

“We could easily have 10 percent, 12 percent appreciation this time next year,” he says.

Do you think Yun is being too optimistic? Are you feeling the housing recovery yet?

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