Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Report for August. It showed that pending home sales declined, with the seasonally adjusted national index falling 1.6% from July but increasing 5.8% above the level seen in August 2012. Meanwhile, NAR's Chief Economist Lawrence Yun is suggests rising interest rates (as a result of the Fed's "tapering" debacle) worked to motivate spring buyers, but now that the seasonal surge is over, lower home sales are expected:
Sharply rising mortgage interest rates in the spring motivated buyers to make purchase decisions, culminating in a six-and-a-half-year peak for sales that were finalized last month ... Moving forward, we expect lower levels of existing-home sales, but tight inventory in many markets will continue to push up home prices in the months ahead.
The following chart shows the seasonally adjusted national pending home sales index, along with the percent change on a year-over-year basis as well as the percent change from the peak set in 2005.