Pending home sales make unexpected jump

The index of pending home sales, an indicator measuring the number of contracts signed in June, rose 5.3 percent to a reading of 89, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That compared with a downwardly-revised reading of 84.5 in May, and the index still is 12.3 percent below the June 2007 reading of 101.4.

“The vacillation of data from one month to the next indicates a housing market in transition,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The rise in pending home sales was broad-based with all four regions showing gains. This is welcome news because a rise in contract activity is necessary for an overall housing recovery.”

The pending home sales index in the South jumped 9.3 percent to 92.4 in June but is 16.6 percent below June 2007. In the West, the index rose 4.6 percent to 101.0 in June but remains 1.7 percent below a year ago. The index in the Northeast increased 3.4 percent to 79.6 but is 15.4 percent below June 2007. In the Midwest, the index rose 1.3 percent in June to 79.6 but is 13.3 percent below a year ago.

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