Pending January Home Sales Climb, Realtor Group Says


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In a sign the U.S. housing market could be stabilizing, contracts to purchase previously owned homes rose in January, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The industry group said Monday that its Pending Home Sales Index climbed 2 percent to 97 points in the first month of the year, reaching its highest level since April 2010 when it hit 111.3. Sales tend to follow newly signed contracts by about a month or two, according to experts.

Pending home sales in the U.S. have been trending upward, and data on building has also been upbeat, bolstering hopes that a sustained recovery is underway. Economists noted that the housing data is the latest in a string of positive economic reports that could portend the future strength of the nation's economy. Jobless claims have continued to decline and consumer sentiment has picked up, bolstering such claims.

"Given more favorable housing market conditions, the trend in contract activity implies we are on track for a more meaningful sales gain this year," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. "With a sustained downtrend in unsold inventory , this would bring about a broad price stabilization or even modest national price growth, of course with local variations."

While the housing market has been bogged down amid an oversupply of foreclosed and unsold homes, the number of new and previously owned properties has fallen over the past few months, spurring hope that the worst of the crisis is in the past.


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This article appears in: News Headlines , Economy , Real Estate

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