"While January's blizzard possibly caused some of the pullback in the Northeast, the recent acceleration in home prices and minimal inventory throughout the country appears to be the primary obstacle holding back would-be buyers," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. "Additionally, some buyers could be waiting for a hike in listings come springtime."
Pending home sales in the Northeast declined 3.2 percent in January, compared to December, but were 10.9 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest sales fell 4.9 percent monthly and are 1.4 percent above January, 2015. Sales in the South rose 0.3 percent for the month and are 1.3 percent lower than last January. In the West pending sales fell 4.5 percent in January and are just 0.4 percent above a year ago.
Tight supply has been plaguing the housing market for much of the past year. Inventory is lower now than a year ago, even as the spring housing market begins and more new listing come on. It is still not enough to meet demand.
An early read on February finds new listings that do come on the market are moving quickly. Housing inventory is moving six days faster than last year and four days faster than January, according to Realtor.com. Median listing prices are also up eight percent compared to a year ago.