Pending home sales decline in January

Pending home sales are down in January for the second straight month, and are down 1.5% compared with the January 2010 figure, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, declined 2.8% to 88.9 based on contracts signed in January from a downwardly revised 91.5 in December. The index is 1.5% below the 90.3 level in January 2010 when a tax credit stimulus was in place. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.

The NAR pointed out that the current Pending Home Sales Index is 20.6% ahead of the cyclical low last June.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, points to the broader trend. “The housing market is healing with sales fluctuating at times, depending on the flow of distressed properties coming on the market,” he said.

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