Sep 30, 2021 - Economy

The housing market gets even hotter

Charts showing pending home sales
Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

Momentum is still building in the housing market. Pending home sales jumped 8.1% in August — far exceeding analyst expectations for around 1% growth.

State of play: Pending sales, or signed contracts, had cooled during the prior two months, though remained above pre-pandemic levels.

  • The latest figures, out Wednesday from the National Association of Realtors, imply that September's existing-home closed sales will be the highest since January, according to a research note from Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The big picture: "Rising inventory and moderating price conditions are bringing buyers back to the market," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, in the release.

  • "Affordability, however, remains challenging as home price gains are roughly three times wage growth," Yun said, adding that the imbalance is unsustainable over the long term.

Context: Home prices surged over the back half of last year and the first part of this year.

  • The median existing home price in August was 14.9% higher than it was a year before, NAR said last week.
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