U.S. pending home sales near healthy levels

April 28, 2011 10:42AM

U.S. pending home sales rose in March and the index is nearing historically healthy levels, according to a National Association of Realtors report released today. The index jumped to 94.1 from 89.5 in February, inching closer to the 100 mark, which is considered to signify market health. Last month’s index is far below the 106.2 achieved last March, but that can be attributed to elevated activity in advance of the home buyer tax credit’s expiration, the NAR said. The housing market is weakest in the Northeast, where pending home sales declined 3.2 percent to 63.4, while strongest in the South where pending home sales rose 10.3 percent to 110.2. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said he expected the national upward trend to continue, especially in the lower segment of the market. “Based on the current uptrend with very favorable affordability conditions, rising apartment rents and ongoing job creation, existing-home sales should rise around 5 to 10 percent this year with sales growth of lower priced homes likely to outperform high-end homes,” he said. TRD


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