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The level of pending home sales remained stagnant from March to April, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The trade group’s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) – a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings – remained at 78.9 in April; an index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001. However, on a year-over-year measurement, the pending transactions declined by 20.3%.

“Not all buying interests are being completed due to limited inventory,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Affordability challenges certainly remain and continue to hold back contract signings, but a sizeable increase in housing inventory will be critical to get more Americans moving.”

The regional PHSI measurement found a month-over-month decline in the Northeast and upticks in the South, Midwest and West. All four regions recorded year-over-year declines.

“Minor monthly variations in regional activity are typical,” said Yun. “However, cumulative results over many years clearly point towards a much greater number of home sales in the South. The South’s pending home sales activity is similar to that of 2001, but the Midwest’s activity has decreased by 22% in that same period, and the Northeast and West regions are both about 40% lower than they were in 2001.”