US Macro Updates

The One Stop Portal for US Macroeconomic Data. Simplified and Summarized! 

We simplify and summarize key data so that you don’t have to spend hours reading confusing and long media releases. Read key economic releases and major events here in under 2 minutes. And we will explain the key takeaway for you. Stay informed and form a robust view on macroeconomic matters to aid your successful investment decisions

28th Mar 2024

Pending Home Sales

Key takeaway: The US Residential home market was off to a decent start in 2024. Pending Home Sales increased a substantial 8.3% in December at 77.3 compared to November. However, the Pending Home Sales Index had posted a 4.9% drop in January. The Index was back in positive territory posting a 1.6% increase in February. The PHS Index after having fallen through 2022 had mostly levelled off in 2023. Mortgage rates came off towards the end of the year and activity has now started picking back up again in existing home sales market. Pending Home Sales are said to be a leading indicator of home sales since they are recorded when the contracts are signed instead of when the home sales is completed. While modest sales growth might not stir excitement, it shows slow and steady progress towards a more balanced US residential real estate market.    

26th Jan 2024

Key takeaway: The US Residential home market was off to a decent start in 2024. Pending Home Sales increased a substantial 8.3% in December at 77.3 compared to November. The PHS Index after having fallen through 2022 had mostly levelled off in 2023 and the latest read shows an increase back upwards. The current readings of the Index though continue to remain amongst the lowest since it was introduced in 2001! An Index level of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001. However, a number of indicators in the US residential market have started to indicate that the sales trough might have bottomed. With mortgage rates coming down over the past couple of months, activity seems to be returning to the Existing Home Sales market. Existing Home Owners seem to be acknowledging the current rate environment and are more willing to list their homes for sale. The NAHB Home Builders Confidence Index has also registered some increases in the past couple of months. Both, increased housing inventory and lower interest rates are seen as critical factors for a better performing US residential real estate market.   

28th Dec 2023

Key takeaway: Pending Home Sales was unchanged in November at 71.6 compared to October. The PHS Index after having fallen through 2022 had mostly levelled off in 2023. The current readings of the Index though are amongst the lowest since it was introduced in 2001! An Index level of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001. On a y-o-y basis, pending transactions declined 5.2%. Some of the other indicators on the US residential sector in recent times – including the NAHB home builders confidence index – have also been falling. The shortage of inventory in existing homes has been a key feature in this market which has kept the new homes market going strong. However, with mortgage rates having recently touched 8% and even with the drop in interest rates in the past 4 weeks, un-affordability is once again the dominant factor in the sector. Both, increased housing inventory and lower interest rates are seen as critical factors for a better performing US residential real estate market.   

30th Nov 2023

Key takeaway: Pending Home Sales decreased 1.5% in October, resuming the mostly declining trend in the Index. This was a reversal from the 1.1% increase seen last month. In summary though, activity in the existing home sales market is at a low not seen in many years. The Pending Home Sales Index was at 71.4 in October. This is the lowest reading of the Index since it was introduced in 2001! An Index level of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001. On a y-o-y basis, pending transactions declined 8.5%. Some of the other indicators on the US residential sector in recent times – including the NAHB home builders confidence index – have also been falling. The shortage of inventory in existing homes has been a key feature in this market which has kept the new homes market going strong. However, with mortgage rates having recently touched 8% and even with the drop in interest rates in the past 4 weeks, un-affordability is once again the dominant factor in the sector. Both, increased housing inventory and lower interest rates are seen as critical factors for a better performing US residential real estate market.   

26th Oct 2023

Key takeaway: Pending Home Sales increased in September, up 1.1% from August. This was a reversal from a sharp drop seen in the earlier month of 7.1%. Yet, even with the small rise this month, the residential sales market continues to remain soft. Some of the other indicators on the US residential sector in recent times – including the NAHB home builders confidence index – have also been falling. The shortage of inventory in existing homes has been a key feature in this market which has kept the new homes market going strong. However, with mortgage rates now above 8%, un-affordability is once again the dominant factor in the sector. Both, increased housing inventory and lower interest rates are seen as critical factors for a better performing US residential real estate market.  On the other hand, it was also worth noting that the latest September New Home Sales data from the Census Bureau had surprised to the upside. 

28th Sep 2023

Key takeaway: Pending Home Sales registered a big slump of 7.1% in August. The Index decreased from 77.3 in July to 71.8 in August. The sharp drop is not surprising and in line with some of the other indicators on the US residential sector in recent times – including the NAHB home builders confidence index. The shortage of inventory in existing homes has been a key feature in this market which has kept the new homes market going strong. However, with mortgage rates well above 7%, un-affordability is once again the dominant factor in the sector. Both, increased housing inventory and lower interest rates are seen as critical factors for a better performing US residential real estate market.  

30th Aug 2023

Key takeaway: Pending Home Sales registered an increase of 0.9% in July, up from +0.3% in June. The Index increased from 76.9 in June to 77.6 in July. The shortage of inventory in existing homes has been a key feature in this market, coupled with significantly higher mortgage rates and reduced buyer affordability. Pending home sales are generally considered to be a leading indicator – compared to existing home sales. While the current pending home sales trend can be taken as an indicator of a continuing weak existing home sales market, it is also key to note that the Index has bottomed since the end of 2022 and is off the lows currently. All other indicators of the US housing market have also been suggesting a bottoming of the US housing downturn. 

27th Jul 2023

Key takeaway: Pending Home Sales registered a modest increase of 0.3% in June, up from negative 2.5% from May. The Index increased from 76.6 in May to 76.8 in June. The shortage of inventory in existing homes has been a key feature in this market, coupled with significantly higher mortgage rates and reduced buyer affordability. Pending home sales are generally considered to be a leading indicator – compared to existing home sales. While the current pending home sales trend can be taken as an indicator of a continuing weak existing home sales market, it is also key to note that the Index has bottomed since the end of 2022 and is off the lows currently. All other indicators of the US housing market have also been suggesting a bottoming of the US housing downturn. 

29th Jun 2023

Key takeaway: Pending Home Sales dropped in May, down 2.7% from April. The Index fell from a downwardly revised 78.6 in April to 76.5 in May. Pending home sales are now 22% below the same period last year. The shortage of inventory in the existing homes has been a key feature in this market, coupled with significantly higher mortgage rates and reduced buyer affordability. Given that pending home sales are considered to be a leading indicator – compared to existing home sales – the current pending home sales trend is still indicative of a weak existing home sales market and can be taken as an indicator of a continuing weak existing home sales market.

26th May 2023

Key takeaway: Pending Home Sales recorded no change in April. The Index remained at 78.9. Hence, there wasn’t much to note on a month to month basis. However, the big picture story remains the same. Pending home sales are significantly below pre-pandemic averages. The shortage of inventory in the existing homes has been a key feature in this market, coupled with significantly higher mortgage rates and reduced buyer affordability. Given that pending home sales are considered to be a leading indicator – compared to existing home sales – the current pending home sales trend is still indicative of a weak existing home sales market.  can be taken to be an indicator of continuing slowdown in the existing home sales market.

27th Apr 2023

Key takeaway: The Pending Home Sales Index unexpectedly tumbled in March after rising for the previous consecutive 3 months. The data though unexpected is not entirely surprising. The shortage of inventory in the existing homes has been a key feature in this market, coupled with significantly higher mortgage rates and reduced buyer affordability. Given that pending home sales are considered to be a leading indicator – compared to existing home sales – the current data point can be taken to be an indicator of continuing slowdown in the existing home sales market.

29th Mar 2023

Key takeaway: Pending home sales improved in Feb for a 3rd month in a row. Although the gain was not very large (0.8% m-o-m), it was still higher than consensus expectations (minus 2.3%) and on the back of a big 8.1% gain in Jan 2023. Mortgage rates had eased off in January and early Feb only to climb back up again in the second half of Feb. The housing market, after a disastrous second half of 2022, is showing multiple signs of stabilization and this latest release of pending home sales also attests to that. The different picture emerging in the west and east was also evidenced by increases in the 3 US regions (north-east, mid-west and south) and declines in the west.

The Pending Homes Sales Index, published by the National Association of Realtors, is a leading indicator for the housing sector. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed. The sale usually closes within one or two months of signing. The NAR measures and releases the pending home sales report towards the end of the next month. .

NAR Research