Pending Home Sales on the Rise

The number of home buyers who signed contracts to buy existing homes last month rose higher than expected.
The National Association of Realtors‘ Pending Home Sales Index increased 5.1 percent to 94.1 in March from February. That is the highest reading since November.
Experts had predicted that a mere 1.5 percent rise.
The index is a forward-looking indicator because it is based on contract signings, not closings, which normally occur a month or two later.
The index is still 11.4 percent below the 106.2 it registered in March 2010, but last March saw increased activity due to the home buyer tax credit and its April 2010 deadline.
“Since reaching a cyclical bottom last June, pending home sales have posted an overall gain of 24 percent and demonstrate the market is recovering on its own,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The index means modest near-term gains in existing-home sales are likely, which would be even stronger if tight mortgage lending criteria returned to normal, safe standards.”
The March index rose in three out of the country’s four regions:
*Midwest: Up 3.0 percent to 83.5
*Northeast: Fell 3.2 percent to 63.4
*South: Rose 10.3 percent to 110.2
*West: Increased 3.1 percent to 103.7
Yun says existing homes sales activity will continue on its uneven yet improving pace.
“Based on the current uptrend with very favorable affordability conditions, rising apartment rents and ongoing job creation, existing-home sales should rise around 5 to 10 percent this year with sales growth of lower-priced homes likely to outperform high-end homes,” Yun said.
Right now, any sale is a good sale.