Thin Inventory Leads to Fewer Pending Home Sales

New data show that new contracts signed for homes were flat in February — a sign inventory remains low in a competitive market.

The National Assn. of Realtors said its pending home sales index fell 0.4% from the prior month but was up 8.4% over the year.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the real estate group, said new supply is unlikely to come from existing housing stock anytime soon.

“Only new home construction can genuinely help relieve the inventory shortage,” he said.

The index stood at 104.8. The index is based on national contract activity, and a reading of 100 is equal to the average contract level during 2001, which is considered a year with normal market activity.

A lack of inventory has led to bidding wars in many markets as foreclosures have waned and cheap financing has lured a host of new buyers into the market. The competitiveness has resulted in rising prices.

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