By Xavier Fontdegloria


The number of houses going under contract in the U.S. rose in December, ending a string of six consecutive months of falls, capping a year in which housing transactions faced a significant downturn as mortgage rates rose sharply. Here are the main takeaways from the National Association of Realtors' report published Friday:

--The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator of home sales based on contract signings, rose 2.5% to 76.9 in December.

--Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected the index to decline 1%.

--Pending home sales dropped 33.8% compared with the same month a year earlier.

--The recent low point in home sales activity is likely over, said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Mortgage rates are the dominant factor driving home sales, and recent declines in rates are clearly helping to stabilize the market," he said.

--The increase in pending home sales was driven by sharp increases in two of the four major U.S. regions. Transactions rose 6.4% on month in the West, and by 6.1% in the South. In the Midwest, sales fell by a marginal 0.3%, while they dropped by 6.5% in the Northeast.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 27, 2023 10:14 ET (15:14 GMT)

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