Pending home sales nationwide remained essentially flat last month, as buyers struggled to adjust to higher prices and mortgage rates.
The National Assn. of Realtors said Monday that its pending sales index, which is adjusted for seasonal swings, rose just 0.2% from October. The index was 1.6% below November 2012 levels.
The slight increase in November came after five straight monthly declines, but missed analysts' expectations.
“Although the final months of 2013 are finishing on a soft note, the year as a whole will end with the best sales total in seven years,” the association's chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement.
The market has likely reached a "a cyclical low" and positive job creation and household formation should spur stable contract activity next year, Yun said.The pending sales index, which covers contracts signed, but not yet closed, fell in the Northeast and Midwest. Signed contracts for previously owned homes rose in the South, as well as the West, where the index climbed 1.8% from a month earlier.
The Realtor group said the strong price gains seen earlier this year, coupled with higher mortgage rates, will produce “more modest growth in values” in 2014.