Contracts to purchase previously owned homes fell in February for an eighth straight month, a sign of further weakness in the industry.
The index of pending home sales decreased 0.8% after a 0.2% drop the prior month that was previously reported as a gain, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed March 27. The median forecast of 39 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.2% rise.
Colder-than-normal weather probably played a role in discouraging prospective buyers faced with rising mortgage rates, higher prices and a limited supply of cheaper properties.
“For housing, it’s been primarily an issue of bad weather,” Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, said before the report. “Not a lot of buyers were enticed to go out and look, and not a lot of sellers put their best foot forward” in terms of staging the property or hosting an open house.
“Conditions will improve as the weather improves.” he said.