The numbers: The index of pending home sales dropped 21.8% in April compared to March as the coronavirus pandemic kept prospective home-buyers out of the market, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
Compared with a year ago, pending home sales were down 33.8%. Overall, it was the largest decline since the National Association of Realtors began tracking this data in 2001.
The index measures real-estate transactions where a contract was signed but the sale had not yet closed, benchmarked to contract-signing activity in 2001. It is an indicator of existing-home sales reports in the coming months.
What happened: The Northeast saw the biggest decline in contract signings, with a 48.2% plunge month over month — likely a reflection of the emergence of New York as one of the hot spots for the global coronavirus pandemic. The South saw the next largest decrease, followed by the West and the Midwest.