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The Week Ahead: Can Pending Home Sales Rebound?

November was a month of poor performance for new contracting signings on single-family properties, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), showing that pending home sales were at their lowest point in nearly a year. Only one of four regions experienced gains both over-the-month and over-the-year.

“The budget of many prospective buyers last month was dealt an abrupt hit by the quick ascension of rates immediately after the election. Already faced with climbing home prices and minimal listings in the affordable price range, fewer home shoppers in most of the country were successfully able to sign a contract,” stated NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

The PHSI was down by 0.4 percent year-over-year, and it dropped from a level of 110.0 in October down to 107.3 in November. The reading of 107.3 was the lowest for the PHSI since January 2016, which was largely caused by the shortage of homes for sale.

Pending Home Sales for December 2016 will be released on Monday, January 30, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Employment Summary for January 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Friday, February 3

Wage growth – a key factor in housing growth according to many economists – ticked up according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) Employment Situation covering December 2016. Those numbers were up following a decline over the month of November. However, despite the increase in purchasing power brought on by higher wages, some economists worry how much of those increased wages are a result of minimum wage increases are caused by minimum wage increases and a lack of skilled labor.

BLS will release its data on the January 2017 Employment Situation next Friday.

Approximately 156,000 jobs were added during December, and job growth has averaged 165,000 over the three-month period from October to December—the lowest three-month average since June. The unemployment rate (4.7 percent) was changed little from November, and the labor participation rate (62.7 percent), which has hovered near a 40-year low for much of the last year, rose slightly from November to December.

The BLS data showed the average hourly wage rising by 10 cents from November 2016 and by 2.9 percent over the year up to $26.

“Though job creation slowed according to December’s employment report, we have now seen a record 75 months of job growth,” said Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com. “Growth in the labor market is slowing down for the same reason we’re seeing sluggish growth in existing home sales: we have a supply problem. With job openings at near record levels, we can expect further economic growth to lead to higher wages. This growth should lead to higher household incomes and stronger consumer confidence.”


Monday, January 30

NAR, Pending Home Sales for December 2016, 10 a.m. EST


Tuesday, January 31

S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index for November 2016, 9 a.m. EST


Wednesday, February 1

Federal Open Market Committee Announcement, 2 p.m. EST


Friday, February 3

BLS, Employment Situation for January 2017, 8:30 a.m. EST


About Author: Timothy McNally

Tim McNally is a journalist with experience in business reporting. His journalism career began with Houston Energy Insider as an Energy Reporter, which eventually led him to secure a position with OILMAN Magazine as Digital Content Manager. McNally is a native Texan, and he received his degree in Finance from the University of St. Thomas. He is a staff writer for the MReport.

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