U.S. home buyer demand remained steady in July, although consumers did not react significantly to easing mortgage rates. An index of so-called pending home sales from the National Association of Realtors, which represents signed contracts, not closings, was basically flat, rising 0.5 percent from an upwardly revised June reading.
The index is now up 7.4 percent from one year ago. Pending sales slipped in June but had otherwise been rising for five months.
“Contract activity in most of the country held steady last month, which bodes well for existing-sales to maintain their recent elevated pace to close out the summer,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR in a release. “While demand and sales continue to be stronger than earlier this year, Realtors have reported since the spring that available listings in affordable price ranges remain elusive for some buyers trying to reach the market and are likely holding back sales from being more robust.”
Pending home sales in the Northeast increased 4 percent July from June and in the Midwest were unchanged. In the South, sales increased 0.6 percent. The West was the only region to see weakness, with pending home sales down 1.4 percent for the month.