Today's housing data shows a pause, just a pause

03/27/2013 3:26 pm EST


Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor,

The lower than expected numbers from the housing sector today and yesterday look like nothing more than a pause after a big move over the last twelve months.

For example, the index of pending home sales, a measure of contracts to buy previously owned homes, fell to 0.4% in February to 104.8, the National Association of Realtors announced today. That was still the second highest level for the index since April 2010 and the February decline came after a 3.8% increase in January.

Yesterday the Census Bureau reported that new home sales fell 4.6% in February from January’s levels to an annual rate of 411,000. That was a below the 426,000 forecast from economists surveyed by But it was still a 12.3% increase from February 2012.

Reassuringly for anyone trying to judge the strength of the market the median price for a new home rose 2.9% to $246,000. Inventories remained at 4.4 months supply at the current sales rate. That’s a slight increase from the 4.2-month inventory level in January.

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