New listings were near their six-month high in October, helping drive an increase in pending sales, though buyers backed out of deals at the highest rate on record. The recent drop in mortgage rates could give sales another boost in November.
U.S. pending home sales rose 1% month over month in October to the highest level in a year on a seasonally adjusted basis. They fell 4.8% from a year earlier, but that’s the smallest annual decline in almost two years.
Pending sales have been ticking up for several reasons:
- The supply crunch has eased slightly, giving buyers more options to choose from. The more homes there are on the market, the more can sell. New listings in October were comparable with September’s level, which was the highest in six months on a seasonally adjusted basis. They fell 4.5% from a year earlier, but that’s the smallest decline since summer 2022. Active listings, the total number of homes for sale, rose 1.4% month over month to the highest level since May and were down 12.5% from a year earlier—the smallest decline in four months.
- Sellers are cutting prices and offering concessions to entice buyers. Roughly 1 in 5 (20.8%) homes that sold in October had a price drop, just shy of the 21.6% record high hit a year earlier. More than one-third of sellers are offering concessions, which can include money for repairs, closing costs and/or mortgage-rate buydowns.
- People have to move, even when it’s expensive to do so. Many house hunters have been on the sidelines for months, waiting for mortg