Signed contracts to buy existing homes dropped 2.3 percent in September from August and were just 3 percent higher than one year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The August read of the Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index was revised down slightly. Analysts had expected a slight gain for the month. This is the second-straight monthly drop and is the second-lowest reading of the year. Pending sales are a forward-looking indicator of closed sales for the next two months.
“There continues to be a dearth of available listings in the lower end of the market for first-time buyers, and Realtors in many areas are reporting stronger competition than what’s normal this time of year because of stubbornly-low inventory conditions,” Realtors’ chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Additionally, the rockiness in the financial markets at the end of the summer and signs of a slowing U.S. economy may be causing some prospective buyers to take a wait-and-see approach.”
Sales dropped across the nation, with the weakest reading in the Northeast. Sales there fell 4.0 percent in September from August. In the Midwest, pending home sales declined 2.5 percent and were 2.6 percent lower in the South. The West was nearly flat, with sales down just 0.2.