Pending US home sales fell 1.7% in October amid short supply

Business

FILE – In this Aug. 16, 2019, file photo an under contract sign is posted outside a home Park Avenue in Richmond, Va. On Wednesday, Nov. 27, the National Association of Realtors releases its October report on pending home sales, which are seen as a barometer of future purchases. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans signed fewer contracts to purchase homes in October, as would-be buyers struggled to find available properties.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its pending home sales index, which measures the number of purchase contracts signed, fell 1.7% last month. The signed contracts become final purchases 1-2 months later.

Still, declining mortgage rates over time have lifted home sales. The index is up 4.4% from a year ago.

Mortgage rates have fallen sharply in the past year, partly because the Federal Reserve has lowered its benchmark short-term interest rate. That has partially offset steady increases in average home prices across the nation.

With companies hiring at a solid pace and wages rising modestly, Americans’ finances are generally improving and enabling more people to buy. Sales of existing homes have increased 4.6% in the past year. New home sale have soared by almost a third in the past year.

But Americans who want to buy a home have fewer choices. The number of available houses fell to 1.8 million in October, a record low for that month.

Pending home sales rose in the Northeast and fell in the South, Midwest, and West.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Trending Stories