April pending home sales index hits 3-year high

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Pointing to housing-market growth, pending sales of homes ticked up 0.3% in April, with gains in the Northeast and Midwest, but decreases in the South and the West, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Despite April’s slight gain, the pending-sales gauge increased 10.3% from April 2012, hitting the highest level in three years. “The housing market continues to squeak out gains from already very positive conditions,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. The pending-home-sales index increased to 106 in April from 105.7 in March and 96.1 in April 2012. The housing market has seen large gains over the past year, though low inventories, and high unemployment and credit standards are constraining growth, analysts say. By region, April saw pending home sales rise 11.5% in the Northeast and 3.2% in the Midwest. Meanwhile, pending sales fell 7.6% in the West and 1.1% in the South. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed. Typically, sales are finalized within two months of signing.

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