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The National Association of Realtors® today announced its monthly report of homes under contract for sale and the news was not upbeat.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 8.7% to 92.4 in December from a downwardly revised 101.2 in November, and landed 8.8% below December 2012, when it was 101.3. The data are at the lowest level since October 2011, when the index was 92.2. An index reading of 100 equals 2001’s average contract activity level.

All regions of the country suffered in this trend, which was evident in Flagstaff reporting in this blog. Pending contracts for Flagstaff homes dropped thirty units from early December to early January. Still, when we look at final sales year-to-year for January, in the next 10 days or so, things may not be so dismal. The general trajectory for the housing market, as for the economy, is up – just not in a smooth, jet-propelled manner.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said several factors are working against buyers. “Unusually disruptive weather across large stretches of the country in December forced people indoors and prevented some buyers from looking at homes or making offers,” he said. “Home prices rising faster than income is also giving pause to some potential buyers, while at the same time a lack of inventory means insufficient choice. 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.”

Related articles:

National Association of Realtors® Press Release

Pending Flagstaff Home Sales in early January

Pending  Flagstaff Home Sales in early December

MarketWatch.com analysis

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