Pending home sales rose 3.4% in March – the first increase in nine months – according to the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index.
Despite the increase, pending home sales are still 7.9% below the level reached in March 2013. It is also unknown how many of those pending sales will actually close.
In a release, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, says with spring approaching, a correction was inevitable.
‘After a dismal winter, more buyers got an opportunity to look at homes last month and are beginning to make contract offers,’ he says. ‘Sales activity is expected to steadily pick up as more inventory reaches the market, and from ongoing job creation in the economy.’
Pending home sales rose the most in the West, which saw a 5.7% increase in March, and South, which saw a 5.6% increase. The Northeast increased only 1.4% while the Midwest actually decreased 0.8%.
NAR notes that although home sales are expected to trend up in the second half of this year and into 2015, total sales for 2014 are unlikely to match the 2013 level.
Existing-home sales are expected to total just over 4.9 million this year, below the nearly 5.1 million recorded in 2013. However, with ongoing inventory shortages in much of the U.S., the national median existing-home price is expected to grow between 6% and 7% in 2014.