Washington, Oct 29: US pending home sales slipped in September for the fourth consecutive month, held back by higher interest rates and home prices, a trade association said.
The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales, which measures the number of contracts that have been signed but not yet closed for purchasing previously owned homes, declined 5.6 percent to 101.6 in September and was 1.2 percent below the September 2012 level, reported Xinhua.
It marked the first time in 29 months that pending home sales were not above year-ago levels.
Declining housing affordability conditions are likely responsible for the bulk of reduced contract activity, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist, National Association of Realtors Monday.
“In addition, government and contract workers were on the sidelines with growing insecurity over lawmakers’ inability to agree on a budget. A broader hit on consumer confidence from general uncertainty also curbs major expenditures such as home purchases,” Yun said.
The National Association of Realtors index is a forward-looking indicator of future existing home sales, since there is usually one or two months’ lag between signing a contract and closing a deal.