When an offer is accepted on a house, the closing process begins. During this time, the sale of that home is considered pending because it is under contract but not yet sold. The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index tracks these transactions because they are a good indicator of future sales of existing homes. In November, the index fell 2.5 percent from the month before. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says low inventory and higher rates affected sales during the month. “The budget of many prospective buyers last month was dealt an abrupt hit by the quick ascension of rates immediately after the election,” Yun said. “Already faced with climbing home prices and minimal listings in the affordable price range, fewer home shoppers in most of the country were successfully able to sign a contract.” So what does this mean for affordability conditions in 2017? Well, according to Yun, the effects of increasing mortgage rates should be subdued a bit by growing wages and a healthy job market. The more Americans feel secure with their jobs and income, the more likely they’ll be to enter the market regardless of interest rate increases. More new home construction could also help relieve affordability pressure by adding for-sale inventory to markets where there are more buyers than available homes, which would help slow price increases. More here.