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Economic Report: Pending-home sales rebound in February, even as Realtors slash 2018 sales forecast

The numbers: Pending-home gross sales rose 3.1% to 107.5 in February, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Economists had forecast a 3.0% build up.

What came about: NAR’s index, which tracks real-estate transactions wherein a contract has been signed however the transaction hasn’t closed, helps foreshadow gross sales of previously-owned houses. It fell to a more-than 3 12 months low in January, and that reading was once revised even decrease.

The February rebound still leaves the index 4.1% lower than its level a 12 months in the past, although NAR famous in a free up that closing February’s reading was once the second-highest in over a decade. Pending gross sales surged 10.3% within the Northeast, and ticked up 0.7% within the Midwest in February. They rose 3.0% within the South and 0.4% within the West.

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The giant image: Even as the housing market is chugging forward, hamstrung by low inventory and surging prices, NAR thinks 2018 will probably be challenging. The team revised its 2018 forecast to turn that gross sales will probably be flat when compared with 2017 at 5.51 million, after rising only 1.1% in 2017.

The team expects the nationwide median existing-home value to extend round 4.2% after a 5.eight% annual acquire closing 12 months.

Strong value appreciation is a reminder that demand is still outweighing supply. It’s also contrary to the NAR’s trust that tax cuts would pressure down home prices by diminishing the motivation to own a house.