Brrrrrrrrr, it’s cold outside: weather puts freeze on home sales

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, February 21st, 2014 at 3:28pm.

What?! Much of the nation is suffering from sub-zero temperatures and record amounts of snow and no one’s house shopping? No!

But that’s exactly what’s happening.

According to the National Association of Realtors®, the record-low weather temperatures that froze parts of the country in December (and are continuing to do so) are hampering pending home sales.

“Unusually disruptive weather across large stretches of the country in December forced people indoors and prevented some buyers from looking at homes and making offers,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®.

Combined with home prices rising faster than incomes and lack of available home inventory, conditions are giving potential buyers pause in their home-buying plans, he adds.

The NAR reports that pending home sales fell 8.7 percent nationally in December from the previous month. And the NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts and not closings, is 8.8 percent below year-ago levels. Pending home sales are at the lowest levels since October 2011.

But Yun notes, “Although it could take several months for us to get a clearer read on market momentum, job growth and pent-up demand are positive factors.”

Here’s a look at December’s pending home sales in different regions of the nation:

  • West: Faced with the most constrained inventory levels in the nation, contracts dropped 9.8 percent in December and are 16 percent below December 2012.
  • Northeast: Contracts dropped 10.3 percent in December and are 5.5 percent below year-ago levels;
  • Midwest: Contracts fell 6.8 percent in December and are 6.9 percent lower than December 2012;
  • South: Contracts fell 8.8 percent in December and are 6.9 percent below a year ago,Source: REALTOR® Magazine Daily News  

Tom Kalinski 
Owner and Founder
RE/MAX of Boulder

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