By Xavier Fontdegloria

 

The number of houses going under contract in the U.S. decreased in October for the second consecutive month, data from the National Association of Realtors showed Monday. Here are the report's main takeaways:

--The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, fell 1.1% to 128.9 in October. This marks the second straight month of declines, following four months of extended gains and reaching in August the highest level in the historical series.

--Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected the indicator to grow at a rate of 2%. In September, the index decreased by 2.2%.

--Pending home sales were up 20.2% in October compared with the same month a year earlier.

--"The housing market is still hot, but we may be starting to see rising home prices hurting affordability," said Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors' chief economist. Mr. Yun said both the inventory of homes for sale and mortgage rates are now at historic lows, two factors that--plus very strong demand--have pushed home prices to levels that are making it difficult to save for a down payment, particularly among first-time buyers.

--By region, the index only climbed in November in the South, by a marginal 0.1%. In the West it remained flat, while it decreased in the Midwest by 0.7%, and in the Northeast by 5.9%.

 

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 30, 2020 10:14 ET (15:14 GMT)

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