U.S. Pending Home Sales Decrease For Fifth Straight Month In October

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Pending home sales in the U.S. decreased for the fifth consecutive month in October, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Wednesday.

NAR said its pending home sales index tumbled by 4.6 percent to 77.1 in October after plunging by 8.7 percent to a revised reading of 80.8 in September.

Economists had expected pending home sales to slump by 5.2 percent compared to the 10.2 percent nosedive originally reported for the previous month.

Compared to the same month a year ago, NAR said pending home sales in October were down by 37.0 percent.

A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

"October was a difficult month for home buyers as they faced 20-year-high mortgage rates," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "The West region, in particular, suffered from the combination of high interest rates and expensive home prices."

He added, "The upcoming months should see a return of buyers, as mortgage rates appear to have already peaked and have been coming down since mid-November."

The report showed pending home sales in the West plummeted by 11.3 percent, while pending sales in the South and Northeast tumbled by 6.4 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.

"Only the Midwest squeaked out a gain," Yun said, with pending home sales in the region jumping by 3.3 percent.

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