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Housing News

Pending home sales hit highest point since April 2010

Pending home sales data

According to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales (contracts signed on homes for sale) improved in January, up 2.0 percent from the month prior and 8.0 percent higher than January 2011.

The trade group reports that “the January index is the highest since April 2010 when it reached 111.3 as buyers were rushing to take advantage of the home buyer tax credit.”

Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said this is a hopeful indicator going into the spring home-buying season. “Given more favorable housing market conditions, the trend in contract activity implies we are on track for a more meaningful sales gain this year. With a sustained downtrend in unsold inventory, this would bring about a broad price stabilization or even modest national price growth, of course with local variations.”

Regional performance

In January, the pending home sales index (PHSI) rose 7.6 percent in the Northeast over December, while seeing a 9.8 percent increase from January 2011. In the Midwest, the PHSI fell 3.8 percent but is still up 10.8 percent over the year, while the South rose 7.7 percent from December and 10.5 percent above a year ago. The index fell 4.4 percent in the West in January to and is 0.7 percent above January 2011.

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“Movements in the index have been uneven, reflecting the headwinds of tight credit, but job gains, high affordability and rising rents are hopefully pushing the market into what appears to be a sustained housing recovery,” Dr. Yun said. “If and when credit availability conditions return to normal, home sales will likely get a 15 percent boost, speed up the home-price recovery, and thereby significantly reduce the number of homeowners who are underwater.”

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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