September 1, 2009

Pending home sales extend streak

Pending U.S. home sales rose for the sixth consecutive month in July, the National Association of Realtors in Washington said Tuesday.

The six months of slow, steady gains are a clear indication that the slump in housing has turned around, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in an Internet Webcast.

The recovery is broad based across many parts of the country, Yun said in a statement.

The Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in the month, rose 3.2 percent from 94.6 to 97.6, NAR said.

The six-month streak, the longest upward trend since July 2003, is due to continued high affordability ratings combined with a first-time buyer tax credit, Yun said.

The index fell 3 percent in the Northeast, but is up 4.7 percent from July 2008, NAR said. In the Midwest, the index fell 2 percent, although it is up 8.1 percent from July 2008.

The index jumped 12.1 percent in the West -- 20 percent higher than a year ago -- and rose 3 percent in the South, 12 percent above the level in the South 12 months ago, NAR said.