Investing.com - Pending home sales in the U.S. rose more than expected in December, bolstering optimism over the health of the housing sector, industry data showed on Monday.
In a report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said its pending home sales index rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.6% last month, beating expectations for an increase of 1.1%.
The pending home sales index increased to 109.0 from the prior 107.3.
Year-on-year, pending home sales increased at an annualized rate of 0.3% in December.
NAR chief economist Larry Yun said contract activity was mixed throughout the country in December but ultimately ended on a high note to close out 2016.
"Pending sales rebounded last month as enough buyers fended off rising mortgage rates and alarmingly low inventory levels1 to sign a contract," he said.
Yun highlighted it would be important to see if levels of supply can increase at in order to keep price growth at a level consistent with households absorbing higher borrowing costs.
"Sales will struggle to build on last year's strong pace if inventory conditions don't improve," he warned.
Immediately following the report, EUR/USD was trading at 1.0656 from around 1.0655 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.2506 compared to 1.2515 previously, while USD/JPY was at 114.30 from 114.34 earlier.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 100.73, compared to 100.75 ahead of the report.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock markets traded lower after the open. The Dow 30 dropped 0.68%, the S&P 500 lost 0.83%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.24%.
Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,194.65 a troy ounce, compared to $1,194.45 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $52.77 a barrel from $52.76 earlier.
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