The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales for June decreased by 1.4%. Analysts had expected a 0.9% increase. For May, the NAR originally reported an increase of 5.9%.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said
Buyer interest remains strong but fewer home listings mean fewer contract signing opportunities. We've been seeing a steady decline in the level of housing inventory, which is most pronounced in the lower price ranges popular with first-time buyers and investors.
Homebuilder stocks, such as PulteGroup, Inc. (PHM), NVR Inc. (NVR), and Ryland Group Inc. (RYL), have been trending up recently on good news from the housing market. Today's news indicates that housing inventory remains tight.
In comparison with the prior-year month, sales increased 9.5% for June 2012. In the prior report, May 2012 sales were shown to have increased 13.3% versus the prior-year month.
Earlier this week, new-home sales dropped to 350,000, but this was still an increase of 15.1% versus the prior year. Housing prices, as reported by the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) and Zillow, improved. Zillow reported the first year-over-year increase in housing prices since 2007. It was also reported that the foreclosure rate is dropping, while the pace of foreclosure re-sales remains steady.
Next Tuesday, the Case-Shiller 20-city Index will be released, showing the change in home prices for May 2012. The FHFA reported a 0.8% increase for this same period.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.