Pending Home Sales Edge Up in December

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in December, increased 1 percent to 96.6 from 95.6 in November, and remains 10.9 percent above December 2008 when it was 87.1.

February 02, 2010

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in December, increased 1 percent to 96.6 from 95.6 in November, and remains 10.9 percent above December 2008 when it was 87.1.

In November, the monthly index from the National Association of Realtors had fallen by 16.4 percent from surging activity in preceding months. December activity was the fifth highest monthly tally in two years. Regionally, the breakdown is as follows:

    * Northeast: rose 2.3 % to 76.1 in December and is 14.9 % higher than December 2008.
    * Midwest: increased 5.2 % to 86.9 and is 8.7 % above a year ago.
    * South: rose 2.2 % to an index of 98.4, and are 5.5 % higher than December 2008.
    * West: fell 3.8 % to 119.9 but is 18.6 % above a year ago.

According to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, swings in contract activity reflect a tax credit that was expiring, then extended and expanded, and mask the underlying trend of a broad improvement over year-ago levels. He projects the extended and expanded tax credit will encourage 2.4 million households to take the credit in 2010.

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