After 3 consecutive months of growth, the housing market appears to have eased a bit in December.
According to the National Association of REALTORSÂ®, Decemberâ€™s Pending Home Sales IndexÂ slipped 4 percentÂ from the month prior. The index measures the number of homes under contract to sell nationwide, but not yet sold.
Despite falling below its benchmark â€œ100 valueâ€, Decemberâ€™s Pending Home Sales Index is the readingâ€™s second-highest value since April 2010 â€” the last month of last yearâ€™s home buyer tax credit program.
In other words, the housing market continues to show signs of improvement, propelled by low home prices and the cheapest mortgage rates of all-time.
Freddie Macâ€™s mortgage rate survey put the 30-year fixed rate mortgage at an average ofÂ 3.96% in DecemberÂ â€” a 75-basis point improvement from December 2010. This helps to make homes more affordable nationwide.
On a regional basis, Decemberâ€™s Pending Home Sales Index varied :
But even regional data is only so helpful. Like everything in real estate, data must be local to be relevant.
Throughout the West Region, for example, the U.S. region in which pending home sales fell the most, several states must have performed better than the regional average. And, undoubtedly, there were cities, towns, and neighborhoods that experienced marked market growth.
Unfortunately, the Pending Home Sales Index canâ€™t capture that data. Nor can it identify the markets in which home sales suffered.
For todayâ€™s Brooklyn, NY home buyers and sellers, therefore, itâ€™s important to understand your local market and the drivers of local activity. Reports like the Pending Home Sales Index can paint a broad picture U.S. housing but for data that matters toÂ you, youâ€™ll want to look local.
For local real estate data, talk to an experienced real estate professional.