Pace of home sales, price gains dip in February

Recently, information from the National Association of Realtors and the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices noted that both the pace of home sales and price increases have slowed in the past month.

Spring is finally here, but the last bits of data from the severe-weather-battered housing market are trickling in. Recently, information from the National Association of Realtors and the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices noted that both the pace of home sales and price increases have slowed in the past month. 

For example, NAR reported that the Pending Home Sales Index dropped 0.8 percent from January's reading to February's. It is also 10.5 percent below the February 2013 figure. This statistic is based on contract signings, so it is indicative of the potential sales expected in the near future.

However, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, explained that this trend could be more indicative of a stable housing market than one heading in the wrong direction.

"Contract signings for the past three months have been little changed, implying the market appears to be stabilizing," he said. "Moreover, buyer traffic information from our monthly Realtor survey shows a modest turnaround, and some weather delayed transactions should close in the spring."

Out of the four regions across the U.S., the Northeast and the South saw the largest month-over-month declines in the Pending Home Sales Index.

Home price growth wanes
The rate of home price increases appears to have slowed down a bit, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Both the 10- and 20-City Composites increased 13.5 percent and 13.2 percent year-over-year, but several other readings were headed in the other direction.

"The housing recovery may have taken a breather due to the cold weather," said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Twelve cities reported declining prices in January vs. December; eight of those were worse than the month before. From the bottom in 2012, prices are up 23 percent and the housing market is showing signs of moving forward with more normal price increases."

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