Pending home sales saw a slight improvement in November, marking three straight months of annual increases, according to the latest numbers from the National Association of Realtors. The NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, which tracks contract signings as a measure of future sales, increased 0.8 percent to 104.8, rising from October’s downward revision of 104. Compared to a year ago, November’s index was up 4.1 percent, the highest annual gain since August 2013.
Pending sales were up both month-over-month and year-over-year in three census regions, led by a monthly increase of 1.4 percent in the Northeast to an index reading of 89.1. That was followed by a 1.3 percent increase in the South and a minor 0.4 percent gain in the West. The Midwest was the only region to buck the trend, reporting a 0.4 percent decline in its index, putting it half a percent below last year.
Fannie Mae’s book of business reversed course in November, turning upward even as the mortgage giant’s gross mortgage portfolio continued to shrink. According to Fannie’s latest monthly volume summary, the company’s total book increased in November at an annualized rate of 0.7 percent, bringing its value up to $3.12 trillion. It was only the second time in the last year that the book grew. The increase came as Fannie’s mortgage portfolio dropped to an estimated value of $424 billion, marking the 52nd drop in the last 53 months.