"Fewer Americans signed contracts to purchase previously owned homes in February as limited inventory and access to credit held back a more robust recovery in housing.
The index of pending home sales fell 0.4 percent to 104.8, the second-highest level since April 2010, after a revised 3.8 percent increase the prior month, the National Association of Realtors reported today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.3 percent drop.
Improvements in the housing market are rippling through the economy -- from construction companies and agents to lenders and retailers such Home Depot Inc. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
A smaller number of properties for sale may be hindering buyers with access to credit, while others with limited cash for a down payment are finding it difficult to take advantage of historically low interest rates. At the same time, a pickup in property values may encourage more people to list their homes as the spring selling season gets under way.
“Lending is excessively tight and continues to be,” Benjamin Ayers, an economist with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. in Columbus, Ohio, said before the report. “It’s limiting the expectations for growth.”