WASHINGTON — The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell in April by the most in a year, indicating the US housing recovery remains uneven.
The index of pending home resales dropped 5.5 percent, following a revised 3.8 percent gain the prior month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed Wednesday. The median forecast of 42 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for no change in the measure.
Mortgage rates at record lows failed to sustain the pace of demand, as some buyers may have waited for home prices to decline further. Limited access to credit and persistent foreclosures still weigh on housing, adding to concern it will remain a source of weakness for the world’s largest economy.
Compared with a year earlier, the index climbed 14.7 percent after a 10.5 percent gain in the
prior 12-month period.Three of four regions saw a decrease, Wednesday’s report showed. That included a 12 percent slump in the West and a 6.8 percent decline in the South. Pending purchases rose in the Northeast.
Pending home sales provide insight into closings a month or two later. Purchases of existing homes, which made up about 93 percent of the housing market last year, are tabulated when the contract closes.
| THE WASHINGTON POST NEWS SERVICE WITH BLOOMBERG NEWS