- Pending home sales rose 3.5% in February to a rate of 109.1, up from the downwardly revised rate of 105.4 in January, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday.
- February's rate was 0.7% higher than February 2015. Pending sales last month reached their highest level in seven months.
- All U.S. regions posted sales gains in February, with the exception of the Northeast — where sales slipped 0.2%. Pending sales increased in the Midwest by 11.4%, in the South by 2.1%, and in the West by 0.7%.
February pending home sales far surpassed expectations, as economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal predicted a slight 1.2% rise for the month.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a release, "After some volatility this winter, the latest data is encouraging in that a decent number of buyers signed contracts last month, lured by mortgage rates dipping to their lowest levels in nearly a year and a modest, seasonal uptick in inventory."
However, Yun cautioned that ongoing concerns of limited inventory will continue to be an issue for the housing market, as "without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau."
Housing market reports have been mostly positive this month, as builder confidence held steady at a score of 58, housing starts rose 5.2% in February to a 1.18 million annualized rate, and new single-family home sales increased 2.0% in February to an annual rate of 512,000. However, on the negative side, existing home sales dropped 7.1% last month.