Pending Home Sales Up 3.7% in October: NAR
Pending home sales continued a nine-month-long run in October, according to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) index. NAR’s pending home sales index increased 3.7% from September to October and is up 31.8% from its October 2008 level. The nine consecutive month-over-month gains mark the longest run since the index was created in 2001 and the year-over-year increase is the greatest in the index’s history. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said home sales underperformed during the past year and are now on the opposite end of a pendulum swing, but cautioned that home sales could dip in the months ahead because of the lag time between buyers initiating the process of buying a home to take advantage of the extended first time homebuyer tax credit and deals closing. “[W]e could see a temporary decline in closed existing-home sales from December until early spring when we get another surge, but the weak job market remains a major concern and could slow the recovery process,” Yun said. Regionally, the index increased in the Northeast (19.9%), Midwest (11.6%) and South (5.4%), but fell 11.2% in the West. Write to Austin Kilgore.