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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.

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Minneapolis' mayoral candidates weigh in on housing

From left: A.J. Awed, Kate Knuth, Jacob Frey and Sheila Nezhad. Photos courtesy of respective campaigns

Public safety is the No. 1 topic in the Nov. 2 Minneapolis election, but housing remains a major secondary issue.

State of play: The median sales price of a home in Minneapolis has risen from $279,000 to $310,000 over just the past two years, according to Minneapolis Area Realtors.

  • Meanwhile, average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the Twin Cities metro has increased from $957 a month to $1,320 a month over the past decade, per Marquette Advisors.

Driving the news: The top candidates for mayor, speaking to Axios Twin Cities, offered wide ranging solutions to the housing problem.

By the numbers: Leaving House

Expand chart
Data: House Press Gallery; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) is the latest House lawmaker to announce he won't seek re-election next year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 13, compared to nine Republicans.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.