This morning the National Association of Realtors released the April data for their Pending Home Sales Index. Here is an excerpt from the latest press release:

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says contract activity is fading this spring because significantly weak supply levels are spurring deteriorating affordability conditions. "Much of the country for the second straight month saw a pullback in pending sales as the rate of new listings continues to lag the quicker pace of homes coming off the market," he said. "Realtors® are indicating that foot traffic is higher than a year ago1, but it's obviously not translating to more sales." (more here).

The chart below gives us a snapshot of the index since 2001. The MoM change came in at -1.3%. Investing.com had a forecast of 0.5%.

Pending Home Sales

Over this time frame, the US population has grown by 14.5%. For a better look at the underlying trend, here is an overlay with the nominal index and the population-adjusted variant. The focus is pending home sales growth since 2001.

Pending Home Sales Growth

The index for the most recent month is 14% below its all-time high in 2005. The population-adjusted index is 21% off its 2005 high.

Pending versus Existing Home Sales

The NAR explains that "because a home goes under contract a month or two before it is sold, the Pending Home Sales Index generally leads Existing Home Sales by a month or two." Here is a growth overlay of the two series. The general correlation, as expected, is close. And a close look at the numbers supports the NAR's assessment that their pending sales series is a leading index.

Pending Home Sales Growth