The economy hit a rough patch. Auto sales are down and home sales are way down. This morning:
(MarketWatch) – Pending home sales fell a seasonally adjusted 1.5% in April and were 2% lower than a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. The consensus Econoday forecast was for a 0.5% increase.
NAR's index, which tracks home-contract signings, has been volatile, but the trend is solidly downward. April marked the 16th-straight month of annual declines.
Contract signings precede closings by about 45-60 days, so the pending home-sales index is a leading indicator for upcoming existing-home sales reports.
Only the Midwest saw an increase in April, with a 1.3% uptick. Pending sales were down 1.8% in the Northeast, 2.5% in the South, and 1.8% in the West.
On Tuesday, the widely-followed Case-Shiller index showed home prices had risen at the slowest pace since mid-2012 in March.