By Xavier Fontdegloria


The number of houses going under contract in the U.S. declined in December for the second consecutive month, according to data from the National Association of Realtors released Thursday. Here are the report's main takeaways:

--The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator of home sales based on contract signings, decreased 3.8% to 117.7 in December compared with the previous month.

--Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected sales to fall 0.8%.

--Pending home sales in December were 6.9% below the level registered the same month a year earlier.

--"Pending home sales faded toward the end of 2021, as a diminished housing supply offered consumers very few options," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. The market will likely endure a minor reduction in sales as mortgage rates continue to edge higher, he said.

--All four major U.S. regions registered drops in contract transactions. The index fell by a sharp 10% on-month in the West, while declines were less steep in the other regions. Signings declined by 3.7% in the Midwest, by 1.8% in the South, and by 1.2% in the Northeast.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 27, 2022 10:14 ET (15:14 GMT)

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