Pending Sales Make for an Optimistic Fall Outlook

In this fall outlook series, we’re drawing predictions for the coming season, traditionally a slower one than summer, from pending sales. These are transactions which haven’t closed yet, but for which an offer has been accepted and transfer of title is in progress. Pending sales aren’t guaranteed sales—anything can go wrong with the escrow process. However, they, along with home prices and days on the market data, offer important information for predicting the future performance of any localized real estate market.

Today we look at 4 metro areas that have been hard hit by the economic down turn—Las Vegas, NV; Richmond, VA; Orlando, FL; and Chicago, IL. Each metro shows an increase in pending sales through August of this year. These increased pending sales are particularly impressive given the historic low inventory each location has offered this year, and indicate recovery we hope continues through the slower season and perhaps into 2013.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas has suffered the steepest price decline of any of the cities tracked by the Case-Shiller composite study of 20 major American cities. But Vegas' median sold price in August 2012 was approximately $130K, roughly 8.5% higher than in August,  2011. And, despite the fact that the number of homes on the market in August, according to the NAR, was 18,759-- down almost 28% from last August-- this August pending sales are up. This upward trend is part of a pattern which repeated monthly more often than not this past year, as we see from these data compiled by ZipRealty.

Las Vegas Pending sales

©ZipRealty, Inc


Richmond, VA

Richmond’s median sold price this summer (from June-August) rose to 10.4% to $165K. And with an inventory of less than 6,000 homes this August, a decrease of over 24% year-over-year, the fact that pending sales are up in this metro is both surprising and encouraging. Here are Zip’s records.

Richmond, VA Pending sales

©ZipRealty, Inc


Orlando, FL

In July of this year, the national median sales price for existing single-family homes was $188,100, up 9.6% year-over-year. Meanwhile, inventory was down to 9,332 properties on the market, a 20% decrease year over year. Yet pending sales, again, are up:

Orlando pending sales

©ZipRealty, Inc



This summer was a hot one for the windy city:  Chicago enjoyed a median sold price through August of $225K, up 3.4% from 2011.  But there weren’t many homes on offer. The 55,291 recorded units for sale represents an almost 20% dip year over year. But here too, ZipRealty recorded an increase in pending sales.

Chicago pending sales

©ZipRealty, Inc


We’ll explore these data further in the coming weeks, but for now, we’ll take away a positive outlook for fall, and healthy optimism for the coming new year. 

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert