Australian home prices start year on strong note, building to follow By Reuters



By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s housing market started the year with a bang as annual price growth accelerated to the fastest pace since late 2017, supporting consumer wealth and confidence in the face of damaging wildfires and the coronavirus scare.

Data from property consultant CoreLogic out on Monday showed home prices across the nation rose 0.9% in January, from December when they were up 1.1%.

That brought the gains for the 12 months to January to 4.1%, a world away from the punishing declines seen early last year.

The revival was led by the major cities with values in Sydney up by 1.1% in January and 7.9% for the year. Melbourne boasted gains of 1.2% and 8.2% respectively.

The bull market was also becoming more broad-based with every major city recording gains in January, while values in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra hit all-time highs.

January is seasonally a slow period for home sales being the peak of the Australian summer holiday season. This year sentiment was also darkened by bushfires raging across the southeast of the continent.

The spread of the coronavirus has added a new headwind by badly hindering Chinese tourism to Australia.

As a result, analysts have trimmed forecasts for economic growth this quarter and markets have stepped up wagers of more interest rate cuts.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) holds its first meeting of the year on Tuesday and futures imply around a 20% chance of a quarter point cut in the 0.75% cash rate. [AU/INT]

An easing is now fully priced in by May, having been brought in from July given the latest news on the virus. Investors have even priced in a two-in-three risk of a further move to 0.25% by yearn end.

Rates were cut three times last year in an attempt to stimulate consumer spending, with only limited success.

Still, the rebound in home prices is a boon for wealth with Australia’s housing stock valued at a hefty A$6.9 trillion ($4.72 trillion).

“The lift in home prices has the potential to boost perceived wealth and thus boost consumer spending,” said Ryan Felsman, a senior economist at CommSec.

“Wealth is at record highs and incomes are still running faster than consumer prices. The missing ingredient is confidence.”

The surge in prices is also attracting more money into home building after more than a year of sharp declines.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out on Monday showed approvals to build new homes held steady in December, a surprisingly firm result after a steep jump the month before.

Maree Kilroy, an economist for BIS Oxford Economics, noted annual growth in approvals had turned positive for the first time in 18 months.

“The positive momentum that has developed in the established property market and the flow through of a range of stimulus measures to new dwelling demand sets the scene for a recovery in approvals over 2020,” she added.

The residential construction sector is a major employer and spills over into wider activity as homes are furnished.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



U.S. goods trade deficit widens; pending home sales slump By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The view from one of the ship-to-shore cranes at Wando Welch Terminal operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority in Mount Pleasant

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. goods trade deficit increased sharply in December as imports rebounded, and businesses turned more cautious on accumulating inventory, prompting some economists to lower their economic growth estimates for the fourth quarter.

There was also some discouraging news on the housing market on Wednesday, with contracts to purchase previously owned homes dropping by the most in more than 9-1/2 years in December. The housing market has been regaining momentum after slumping in 2018 and the first half of 2019, thanks to lower mortgage rates.

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times last year. Officials from the U.S. central bank were due to wrap up a two-day meeting later on Wednesday. They are expected to reiterate the Fed’s desire to keep rates unchanged at least through this year.

The Commerce Department said the goods trade gap surged 8.5% to $68.3 billion last month. The goods trade deficit had dropped for three straight months, driven by declining imports.

The overall trade deficit is on track to record its first annual decline since 2013. Economists say the Trump administration’s “America First” agenda, underscored by an 18-month trade war with China, has restricted the flow of goods, particularly imports.

Though Washington and Beijing signed a Phase 1 trade deal this month, U.S. duties remained in effect on $360 billion of Chinese imports, about two-thirds of the total.

“Despite a Phase 1 U.S.-China deal, existing tariffs, easing U.S. demand and slow global growth will keep trade sluggish,” said James Watson, a senior U.S. economist at Oxford Economics in New York.

In December, goods imports surged 2.9% to $205.3 billion after decreasing 1.3% in November. Imports were boosted by industrial supplies, food, consumer and capital goods. Motor vehicle and parts imports, however, fell last month.

Exports of goods rose 0.3% last month to $137.0 billion after increasing 0.8% in November. There were increases in exports of industrial supplies and capital goods. Exports of consumer goods and motor vehicles and parts dropped. Food exports were unchanged last month.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data ahead of the Fed’s rate decision.

Q4 GROWTH ESTIMATES CUT

The sharp widening in the goods trade deficit last month suggests the expected boost to fourth-quarter gross domestic product from trade could be a bit more moderate than initially expected. Still, the overall goods trade deficit was probably smaller in the fourth quarter relative to the July-September period. A smaller trade gap is positive for the calculation of GDP.

Trade subtracted 0.14 percentage point from GDP growth in the third quarter. The Atlanta Fed lowered its fourth quarter GDP estimate to a 1.7% pace from a 1.9% rate. JPMorgan (NYSE:) cut its fourth-quarter GDP estimate by three-tenths of a percentage point to a 1.4% rate.

The economy grew at a 2.1% annualized rate in the July-September quarter. The government will publish its snapshot of fourth-quarter GDP on Thursday.

“It looks like the contribution to fourth-quarter GDP growth coming from trade will be more modest than we had previously anticipated,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York. “Details of the trade report related to the domestic absorption of capex point to equipment spending coming in a little weaker than we had estimated.”

The anticipated trade lift to GDP growth could be offset by a smaller pace of inventory accumulation relative to the third quarter. The Commerce Department also reported on Wednesday that retail inventories were unchanged in December after declining 0.8% in the prior month. Motor vehicle and parts inventories were also flat after falling 1.8% in November.

Retail inventories, excluding motor vehicles and parts, the component that goes into the calculation of GDP, were also unchanged after decreasing 0.3% in November.

Wholesale inventories dipped 0.1% last month after gaining 0.1% in November. Inventory investment had a neutral impact on GDP growth in the third quarter.

A separate report on Wednesday from the National Association of Realtors showed its pending home sales index declined 4.9% in December, the biggest drop since May 2010, likely because of a shortage of houses on the market. Compared with one year ago, pending sales were up 4.6%.

Pending home contracts become sales after a month or two, and last month’s decline suggests a slowdown in existing home sales, which raced to a near two-year high in December. Still, demand for homes remains strong. Another report from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed applications for loans to purchase a home increased 5% last week from the week before.

Cheaper borrowing costs are being offset by tight inventory, especially in the lower-priced segment of the market, because of land and labor shortages. There were a record-low 1.40 million previously owned homes on the market in December.



U.S. new home sales fall unexpectedly, low mortgage rates lend support By Reuters


© Reuters. A real estate sign advertising a new home for sale is pictured in Vienna, Virginia

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell unexpectedly in December, likely held down by a shortage of more affordable homes, but lower mortgage rates supported the overall housing market.

The U.S. Commerce Department report on Monday also showed downward revisions to sales for the prior three months, bucking a recent streak of fairly strong housing data. Strength in housing, following a slump in 2018 through the first half of 2019, could offset some of the drag on economic growth from weakness in business spending and manufacturing.

New home sales slipped 0.4% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 units, with sales in the South dropping to the lowest in more than a year. It was the third straight monthly decline in sales. November’s sales pace was revised down to 697,000 units from the previously reported 719,000. September and October sales were also marked down.

“Low mortgage rates, a robust labor market and stabilizing geopolitical tensions suggest that demand for housing will stick around, and buyers are hungry for more housing options,” said Matthew Speakman, economist at online real estate firm Zillow.

Sales last month were concentrated in the $200,000-$749,000 price range. New homes priced below $200,000, the most sought after, accounted for only 10% of sales.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for about 11.1 % of housing market sales, would increase 1.5% to a pace of 730,000 units in December.

The PHLX housing index () fell, tracking a broadly weaker U.S. stock market as investors worried about the economic fallout of the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak in China that has prompted the country to extend the Lunar New Year holidays and businesses to close some operations. The dollar was steady against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices rallied.

VOLATILE DATA

New home sales are drawn from permits and tend to be volatile on a month-to-month basis. Sales jumped 23.0% from a year ago. For all of 2019, new home sales increased 10.3% to 681,000 units, the highest since 2007.

Cheaper mortgage rates have supported the housing market since the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times last year. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped to an average of 3.60% from its peak of 4.94% in November 2018, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac.

Officials from the U.S. central bank are scheduled to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday. They are expected to reiterate the Fed’s desire to keep rates unchanged at least through this year, which could limit further declines in mortgage rates. Still, economists are optimistic the housing market will remain solid.

“Household formation trends are running ahead of new housing construction and this will buoy the housing market in 2020,” said Conrad DeQuadros, senior economic advisor at Brean Capital in New York.

Reports this month showed sales of previously owned homes jumped to near a two-year high in December and housing starts raced to a 13-year peak. Though permits for future construction of single-family housing permits fell in December, that followed seven straight monthly gains.

Housing is expected to have contributed to GDP growth again in the fourth quarter. Residential investment rebounded in the third quarter after contracting for six straight quarters, the longest such stretch since the 2007-2009 recession.

The Atlanta Fed is forecasting GDP to rise at a 1.8% annualized rate in the fourth quarter. The economy grew at a 2.1% rate in the July-September period. The government will publish its snapshot of fourth-quarter GDP on Thursday.

“We still think that real residential investment posted a decent gain in the fourth quarter,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan (NYSE:) in New York.

The housing sector, which accounts for about 3.1% of gross domestic product, remains constrained by a lack of homes, especially in the lower-priced segment of the market, because of land and labor shortages.

That is keeping prices elevated. The median new house price rose 0.5% to $331,400 in December from a year ago. New home sales in the South, which accounts for the bulk of transactions, dropped 15.4% in December to a rate of 347,000 units, the lowest since October 2018. Sales declined 11.8% in the Northeast, but rose 10.1% in the Midwest and surged 31.0% in the West.

There were 327,000 new homes on the market last month, up 1.6% from November. At December’s sales pace it would take 5.7 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, up from 5.5 months in November.

About two-thirds of new homes sold in December were either under construction or yet to be built.



In next war, soldiers will leave their smartphones at home: Peter Apps


LONDON (Reuters) – As the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division departed for the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran, their divisional commander gave a simple order. All personnel entering the region were told to leave smartphones and personal devices in the United States.

It was a clear sign of growing official nervousness over the potential vulnerability of items that had become an unquestioned fact of life for soldiers and civilians alike, but which Washington fears potential foes could track, exploit and use for targeting. Such concerns are far from new, but were regarded less seriously when America’s primary enemies were seen as non-state groups such as Islamic State, the Taliban and al Qaeda. Now Washington is worried about other nations – not just Iran, but Russia and China – which are seen as a much more existential threat.

It also points to a much greater trend. Across the board, the communications revolution – and the vast sea of data it produces – has made surveillance much easier, a trend likely to be magnified by the growth of artificial intelligence. It has also facilitated the mass leaking of phenomenal amounts of information, as demonstrated by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. And simultaneously, it has overturned decades of tradecraft in espionage and associated fields, where despite the rise in “fake news” and online trickery, spy agencies like the CIA now reportedly find it almost impossible to maintain the multiple false identities on which they once relied.

“The foundations of the business of espionage have been shattered,” former CIA official Duyane Norman said in a Yahoo news report, which outlined how foreign governments have become much better at tracking real and covert U.S. identities through phone and bank records, facial recognition and even the records of off-the-shelf DNA tests. “The debate [within the intelligence community] is like the one surrounding climate change. Anyone who says otherwise just isn’t looking at the facts.”

OPTIONS LIMITED

For military commanders, the options are also becoming limited. In Russia’s war with Ukraine, Moscow’s forces have shown remarkable skill in targeting counterparts on the battlefield as soon as they use their phones or radios. According to the U.S.-based Military Times, the U.S. Marine Corps already bans troops from taking personal devices on Middle East combat deployments. The U.S. Navy says it is reconsidering its rules, while the Army says such decisions – as with the 82nd Airborne – are at the personal discretion of commanders.

Decisions are inevitably compromises. Taking away devices reduces the ability of personnel not just to talk to their families, but can complicate communications and organization. But concerns are growing fast. This month, the Pentagon also demanded personnel stop using the Chinese-owned TikTok application, with other similar platforms including WhatsApp also added to some blacklists.

Reducing “careless talk” and unnecessary radio and other emissions is hardly new. As far back as World War One, British commanders discovered telephone systems in forward trenches had often been compromised by German signallers and did everything they could to ensure the most sensitive messages were instead carried by hand or word-of-mouth. Naval vessels, military aircraft and particularly submarines have long done everything possible to mask their signatures, particularly near enemy territory. Recent years, however, have seen growing lapses, including from those who might have been expected to know better.

FITNESS APP

In early 2018, data released by fitness app Strava identified assorted U.S., Russian and even Iranian secret bases in Syria where military personnel and contractors appeared to have recorded their exercise runs without realizing they would be highlighted and widely shared. The U.S. military has now gone so far as to incorporate such mistakes into training exercises, killing off an entire unit in one drill after a soldier posted a selfie photo whose geo-tagging gave away their position.

Authorities are also nervous about non-accidental release of information. This November, White House and military staff removed smartphones from reporters and presidential aides for the duration of President Donald Trump’s unannounced Thanksgiving trip to Afghanistan, which appeared as much about ensuring the news did not leak as worries the phones themselves might be tracked.

In terms of the latter, the greatest threat will come when artificial intelligence and voice recognition software reach the point where phones can be used to monitor nearby conversations without use of a human analyst or translator. That may come sooner rather than later – one reason why some security experts are extremely nervous about Chinese firm Huawei being at the heart of 5G phone networks in several European countries. That may include Britain, due to make its own choice soon. This week, the head of Britain’s Security Service told the Financial Times he believed that risk can be managed without barring the Chinese firm altogether. U.S. counterparts, however, are much more cautious.

For authoritarian states like China and Iran, both witnessing a major spike in often smartphone-coordinated protest and unrest, being able to access and track electronic devices – and the population at large – is seen as a priority. Most notably in Xinjiang province but also across the country, Beijing is turning China into the most sophisticated surveillance state in human history. Within its borders, China already has considerable, sometimes almost exhaustive, access to data and devices. Faster and more incisive artificial intelligence and machine learning will dramatically extend that reach.

The question for Western states will be how effectively their potential foes can repurpose that technology to gather information outside their borders. The United States and its allies have become used to being able to use whatever devices and communications they wished since the Berlin wall fell. Those days are ending fast.

*** Peter Apps is a writer on international affairs, localization, conflict and other issues. He is the founder and executive director of the Project for Study of the 21st Century; PS21, a non-national, non-partisan, non-ideological think tank. Paralysed by a war-zone car crash in 2006, he also blogs about his disability and other topics. He was previously a reporter for Reuters and continues to be paid by Thomson Reuters. Since 2016, he has been a member of the British Army Reserve and the UK Labour Party, and is an active fundraiser for the party.

(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters)



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Security camera shows Ghosn leaving Tokyo home alone before his escape: NHK By Reuters



TOKYO (Reuters) – A surveillance camera captured former Nissan Motor Co chairman Carlos Ghosn leaving his Tokyo residence alone shortly before his surprise escape from Japan, public broadcaster NHK said on Friday, citing investigative sources.

The security footage was taken by a camera installed at his house in central Tokyo around noon on Sunday, and the camera did not show him returning home, NHK said.

Ghosn has become an international fugitive after he revealed on Tuesday he had fled to Lebanon to escape what he called a “rigged” justice system in Japan, where he faces charges relating to alleged financial crimes.

NHK said the police suspected Ghosn may have left his home to meet up with someone before heading to an airport. Under the terms of his bail, Ghosn was required to have security cameras installed at the entrance of his house.

Lebanon received an Interpol arrest warrant for Ghosn on Thursday while Turkey has launched an investigation into his escape from Japan, via Istanbul.

Some Lebanese media have floated a Houdini-like account of Ghosn being packed in a wooden container for musical instruments after a private concert in his home, but his wife has called the account “fiction”.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



U.S. pending home sales rise in November By Reuters



WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose in November, driven by a surge in new contracts being signed in the country’s West, the National Association of Realtors said on Monday.

The NAR’s pending home sales index, based on contracts signed last month, increased 1.2% to a reading of 108.5. The previous month’s reading was revised upward.

Pending home contracts are seen as a forward-looking indicator of the health of the housing market because they become sales one to two months later.

Compared with one year ago, pending sales were up 7.4%.

Compared to the prior month, contracts increased 5.5% in November in the West. They also increased in the Midwest but were lower in the South and Northeast.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Rain keeps UK Boxing Day shoppers at home By Reuters



LONDON (Reuters) – UK shoppers sheltered at home on Thursday, with the numbers hitting post-Christmas sales set to drop significantly for a fourth year in a row, initial data showed.

Footfall up to 12 p.m. on Dec. 26, known in Britain as Boxing Day and a key date for retailers, was down 10.6% compared with the same period a year ago, market research company Springboard said, adding that bad weather had deterred shoppers.

High streets were most affected by the rainy weather with consumers reluctant to go out in the morning, Springboard said.

Black Friday sales in November and a growing number of people shopping online have reduced Boxing Day footfall in recent years.

“Boxing Day is indisputably a less important trading day than it once was,” said Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, adding that the Boxing Day footfall was 10.9% lower than during Black Friday morning.

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC (L:), has said Britons were set to spend £3.7 billion ($4.8 billion) in the post-Christmas sales — £200 million less than last year — partly due to environmental concerns, including about the impact of so-called “fast fashion”.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



U.S. new home sales rebound in November; October sales revised lower By Reuters



WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – Sales of new U.S. single-family homes increased in November, suggesting low mortgage rates continued to support the housing market, though sales activity in the prior month was weaker than previously reported.

The Commerce Department said on Monday new home sales rebounded 1.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 719,000 units last month, lifted by gains in activity in the Northeast and West regions. October’s sales pace was revised down to 710,000 units from the previously reported 733,000 units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for about 11.8% of housing market sales, rising to a pace of 734,000 units in November.

New home sales are drawn from permits and tend to be volatile on a month-to-month basis.

Sales surged 16.9% from a year ago.

The housing market is regaining momentum after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times this year, pushing down mortgage rates from last year’s multi-year highs. Single-family building permits scaled their highest level since July 2007 in November. Confidence among homebuilders in December reached levels last seen since June 1999.

But land and labor shortage are constraining builders’ ability to ramp up the construction of more affordable homes, limiting gains for the sector, which accounts for about 3.1% of the economy.

The median new house price increased 7.2% to $330,800 in November from a year ago. Sales last month were concentrated in the $200,000-$400,000 price range. Homes priced below $200,000, the most sought after, accounted for only 10% of sales.

New home sales in the South, which accounts for the bulk of transactions, dropped 4.1% in November. Sales in the Northeast jumped 52.4%. Sales were unchanged in the Midwest, but rose 7.5% in the West.

There were 323,000 new homes on the market last month, unchanged from October. At November’s sales pace it would take 5.4 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, down from 5.5 months in October.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Home Depot forecasts 2020 sales growth below expectations


The logo of Down Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company Home Depot is seen in Encinitas, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) – Home improvement chain Home Depot Inc (HD.N) on Wednesday forecast fiscal 2020 sales growth below Wall Street expectations.

The company, ahead of its analyst day on Wednesday, said it expects fiscal 2020 sales growth of about 3.5% to 4%.

Analyst on average had expected sales growth of 4.3%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel



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U.S. pending home sales slip in October: NAR By Reuters


U.S. pending home sales slip in October: NAR

(Reuters) – Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes fell unexpectedly in October, with new contract signings down in three of the four U.S. regions.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday its pending home sales index, based on contracts signed last month, decreased 1.7% to a reading of 106.7.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast pending home sales rising 0.8% last month. Pending home contracts are seen as a forward-looking indicator of the health of the housing market because they become sales one to two months later.

Compared with one year ago, pending sales were up 4.4%.

In October, contracts increased in the Northeast but fell in the South, West and Midwest.

“While contract signings have decreased, the overall economic landscape remains favorable,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Mortgage rates continue to be low at below 4% – which will attract buyers – employment levels are strong and many recession claims have dissipated.”

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.