Pending Home Sales Up 3 Percent In February

Pending Home Sales Up 3 Percent In February

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More good news for the housing market: Pending home sales increased 3.1 percent in February to their highest level in 20 months.

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A National Association of Realtors’ index based on contract signings rose to 106.9 in February. That’s 12 percent over where it was a year earlier. The Pending Home Sales Index has been above 100 — the level indicating average activity — for 10 straight months.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the increase in pending home sales was “driven by a steadily improving labor market, mortgage rates hovering around 4 percent and the likelihood of more renters looking to hedge against increasing rents.”

“These factors bode well for the prospect of an uptick in sales in coming months,” he said. “However, the underlying obstacle — especially for first-time buyers — continues to be the depressed level of homes available for sale.”

First-time buyer accounted for 29 percent of pending home sales in February, up from 28 percent in January.

“The return of first-time buyers this year will depend on how quickly inventory shows up in the market,” Yun said.

Pending home sales fell in the Northeast and the South in February, but increased in the Midwest and West.

Realtors project sales of existing homes will total 5.25 million this year, up 6.4 percent from 2014. Existing home sales fell 2.9 percent in 2014.

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Dated: March 31st 2015
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