Pending Home Sales, which measures signed contracts on existing homes and is a good leading indicator for Existing Home Sales, were up 1.6% in August. This reading was stronger than expectations of a 0.6% gain and the second best number in the last 12 months. The gains were broad based, with sales up in every region.
Pending Home Sales are now up 2.5% annually, continuing the trend of strong housing data.
The National Association of Realtors® is forecasting home sales to rise 0.6% in 2019 and another 3.4% in 2020. Housing starts are predicted to increase by 2.0% in 2019 and jump an additional 10.6% in 2020.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Home Affordability Report on third quarter 2019 from ATTOM Data Solutions is claiming that home prices are now less affordable than historical averages in 61% of local markets, based on a study of 498 counties.
To put into perspective, this is improved from second quarter of 2019 where 70% of counties were found to be less affordable (using the same study methods). And, even better from third quarter of 2018 which found 73% of counties to be less affordable than historic averages.
The 39% or 194 counties determined to be more affordable than historical averages in the latest study includes Cook County (Chicago), IL; San Diego County, CA; Queens County, NY; King County (Seattle), WA; and Santa Clara County (San Jose), CA.