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Pending Home Sales Falter in September

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed, fell 4.6 percent in September after posting a gain in August, but is 1.6 percent higher than September 2007.

Regionally, the PHSI rose 3.7 percent in the West in September and is 39.5 percent above a year ago, but it fell in the other three sections of the country. It slipped 0.7 percent in the Midwest for the month and is 3.1 percent below September 2007. The index fell 7.9 percent in the South and is 11.3 percent below a year ago. In the Northeast, it dropped 16.8 percent for the month and is 9.4 percent below September 2007.

In its monthly forecast, NAR reported existing-home sales are expected to total 5.02 million in 2008, rising to 5.32 million next year and 5.62 million in 2010. New-home sales are projected to reach 487,000 units this year and 413,000 in 2009 before increasing to 520,000 in 2010.

By year end, housing prices will have fallen by more than 20 percent in Las Vegas, Phoenix and many California and Florida markets, while many markets in middle America will remain unchanged.

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