Home Sales Speed Ahead: “No Dark Clouds Visible” as Pending Sales Hit Highest Mark in 5 Years

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Pending home sales hit their highest level in almost 5 years and the nation’s housing continues to be juiced-up with enough momentum to keep Realtors sprinting for a while.

In Houston, 2,390 home sales were finalized for the week ending August 31, an 11.7 percent increase over the comparable week of 2019, the Houston Association of Realtor reported Wednesday.

And pending sales – a count of the homes that went under contract to be sold – indicate that the home selling market may continue to be good in September and October, as well. HAR reported 2,182 listings went under contract in the seven-day period ending Aug. 31, a 5.2 percent increase over last year.

Is Housing Bulletproof?

“It seems like nothing can stop the housing market from charging forward with rising prices and increasing sales right now,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “Uncertainty around the election, ongoing concerns about the pandemic, high unemployment with expanded benefits that have expired… none of that seems to matter to real estate. If there are dark clouds on the horizon right now for the housing market, you really have to squint hard to make them out.”

On a nationwide basis, pending home sales – a reliable indicator of future activity – were off the charts.

Pending home sales for the four-week period ending Aug. 23 were once again much higher than the same time in 2019, up 20 percent despite an ongoing seasonal decline over the past few weeks. This was the largest year-over-year increase in pending sales since the four weeks ending October 25, 2015.

The Federal Reserve recently confirmed their strategy that will hold rates low for a long time. This is likely to mean that mortgage rates around 3 percent are the “new normal,” and will continue to drive the housing market.

The selling pace has been brisk.

Some 11,000 homes were sold in Houston in July, a record-high that was 23 percent over the sales total of July 2019.

It was the first time a monthly sales total has surpassed 10,000, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

“Many homebuyers are waiving home inspections, appraisals and everything they possibly can to try to win in a bidding war,” said Milwaukee-area Redfin agent MelissaKillham. “The busy season for real estate seems to be prolonged this year. Usually things have slowed down by now, but homes are still flying off the market, sometimes before you can even see the properties.”

Sept. 2. 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020

File: Home Sales Speed Ahead

Photo credit: Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report. Copyright 2020





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