The number of pending home sales in July inched up just slightly from the month before, the National Association of Realtors reported on Thursday.
The association’s Pending Home Sales Index, which counts signed contracts for previously owned homes, rose 0.5% last month, although it was up 7.4% from July 2014.
The greatest gains were in the Northeast, the NAR said, but pending sales were down by 1.4% in the West. Sales in the Midwest remained unchanged from the prior month, and increased slightly in the South.
An increase so small is a contrast to the surge of sales in the first six months of the year and could be a sign that buyer momentum is tapering off.
Part of the reason, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a press release, is that the inventory of affordable homes is "remain[s] elusive... holding back sales from being more robust.”
While Yun said he foresees demand and sales of existing homes to continue to increase through the year, persistent inventory shortages will keep sales about 25% below their 2005 peak.
Plus, he suggested that this week’s stock market volatility could persuade some buyers to delay home purchases, although for others, real estate might be viewed as a more stable, attractive investment.