An index that measures pending home sales dropped 10.1 percent in 2006 compared to 2005, according to preliminary data released today by the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in 2006, reached 111.8 in 2006 compared with 124.4 in 2005. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed and the transaction has not closed, but the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing. Regionally, the index dropped 14.8 percent in the West, 13 percent in the Midwest, 9.3 percent in the Northeast and 6 percent in the South in 2006 compared to 2005. The index was 112.4 in December 2006, down 4.4 percent compared to the same month in 2005 and up 4.9 percent compared to November 2006. The month-to-month gain was the largest since March 2004 when the index rose 6.9 percent, the Realtor group reported. "A steady narrowing from year-ago readings has been observed since last July when the level of unsold housing inven...
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