by Bill McBride on 8/30/2012
The NAR’s PHSI did not signal the “dip” in June/July closed existing home sales, for reasons that are difficult to discern. It’s not easy to figure out “fallout” rates from the PHSI for several reasons: first, the PHSI is an index number with 2001 “activity” equal to 100, making numerical comparisons to the NAR’s existing home sales estimate difficult, especially since there is a “discontinuity” in the NAR’s existing home sales methodology in 2007; and second, the NAR’s PHSI is based on a sample size not much more than half that used to estimate existing home sales. To really delve into the relationship between pending sales and closed sales, one needs to get local data—which unfortunately isn’t available to the public in that many places.
CR Note: This graph from Tom Lawler shows Pending and Closed home sales since January 2008. For this graph, Tom Lawler set both series to 100 in 2008.
More from Lawler: For fun, however, I looked at pending sales vs. closed sales data reported by MRIS for the mid-Atlantic region. While I have limited historical data, that data suggests that (1) contract fallout over the past two and a half years is up considerably from earlier periods; and (2) that increased fallout coincided with a significant increase in the share of pending sales that were “contingent. Other MRIS data/analyses suggests that a rise in the share of pending contracts that are short-sales, which (1) take much longer time to close; and (2) which have very high contract fall-out rates, has significantly impacted the relationship between pending sales and closed sales.
This chart suggests that over the last two years the number of closed home sales has been significantly lower than one would have expected based on the past relationship between past new pending sales and closed sales. While not shown here, a more “sophisticated” look at leads and lags suggests that the reason is not simply delayed closings, but is mainly contract fallout.
CR Note: It appears short sales are distorting the relationship between pending and closed sales, and the “pending home sales” report should currently be taken with an extra grain of salt.
- Lawler: On the relationship between pending home sales and closed sales (calculatedriskblog.com)
- Pending Home Sales Increase to Highest Level Since 2010 Home Buyer Tax Credit (woodonfire.wordpress.com)