US pending home sales fall for 5th straight month in March

Large gains in mortgage rates denting buying activity, says economist

Pending home sales in the US declined for the fifth consecutive month in March, according to latest data released on Wednesday.

The index of pending home sales, one of the top indicators of the health of the housing market, decreased 1.2% to reach 103.7 in March, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed.

The market estimate for March was a 1.6% decline, following a 4% drop in February.

On an annual basis, pending home sales decreased 8.2%.

“As it stands, the sudden large gains in mortgage rates have reduced the pool of eligible homebuyers, and that has consequently lowered buying activity,”Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement.

“The aspiration to purchase a home remains, but the financial capacity has become a major limiting factor,” he added.

Pending home sales measure the change in the number of houses under contract to be sold but still awaiting the closing transaction. They exclude new home construction.


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