Monday, April 29, 2013

Pending Home Sales are Up

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Realtors said that March pending home sales are up but contract activity in recent months shows only minimal movement.

Pending Home Sales Index rose 1.5% to 105.7 in March from 104.1 in February. That is a 7% higher than a year earlier. The pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 23 months however, the data reflect contracts but not closings.

But the sales are being pulled by limited supply. Sales of previously owned homes are down in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million, from 4.95 million in February.

Total existing-home sales are expected to increase 6.5% to 7% over 2012 to nearly 5 million sales this year, while the median existing-home price is forecast to rise about 7.5%.

"Contract activity has been in a narrow range in recent months, not from a pause in demand but because of limited supply. Little movement is expected in near-term sales closings, but they should edge up modestly as the year progresses," he said. "Job additions and rising household wealth will continue to support housing demand," Lawrence Yun a NAR chief economist said.

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