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Pending home sales improve to start year


Pending home sales rose last month.

The level of pending home sales rose during the first month of the year, which helped keep a long streak of year-over-year increases going.

Overall, the National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index rose approximately 4.5 percent compared to December. This helped the indicator jump to 105.9 from December's level, but also more than 9 percent from the same month in 2012. This was the 21st month in a row where pending home sales remained higher than the same point 12 months earlier.

"Over the near term, rising contract activity means higher home sales, but total sales for the year are expected to rise less than in 2012, while home prices are projected to rise more strongly because of inventory shortages," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR.

The last time a figure rose to such a high point was in early 2010, as consumers were looking to take advantage of the homebuyer tax credit, the report added. During that point the figure was 110.9.

This may help existing-home sales improve in the future. In January, the association noted the overall existing-home sales level rose 0.4 percent to a rate of 4.92 million compared to December.

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