Pending contracts for home sales have continued to fall for the eighth straight month.
This is bad sign for the real estate market, which will likely be slow for the next few months.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index dropped 0.8 percent to 93.9. The index has fallen 10.5 percent over the past 12 months.
Higher mortgage rates, rising prices and a limited supply of home have slowed sales since the index peaked in June. The harsh winter snowstorms appear to have crimped purchases in the Northeast during February.
Most economists expect the home sales to rebound as the weather improves and the spring buying season begins. But 2014 has started at a far weaker pace than last year. The higher prices and loan rates appear to have made houses unaffordable for some would-be buyers.
The Realtors said last week that sales declined 0.4 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million. It was the sixth decline in seven months. The trade group forecasts that sales will slip to 5 million this year from 5.1 million in 2013.
An index that tracks mortgage applications fell last month to its lowest level since December 2000. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of refinancing and home-buying demand dropped 8.5 percent in the week that ended Feb. 21.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index was 46 in February. Readings below 50 indicate that more builders view sales conditions as poor rather than good.
And sales of new homes declined 3.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.
The steep discounts on home prices that followed the Great Recession have largely disappeared. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index said Tuesday that prices rose a strong 13.2 percent in January compared with 12 months earlier.
And the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.4 percent this week, nearly a full percentage point more than it was a year ago.
Pending Contracts For Home Sales Continue To Fall.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.