According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the housing market could be stabilizing after months of rising inventories, meager home sale activity and soft prices. The Pending Home Sale Index, which is a leading indicator for the housing market, rose 4.9 percent in December compared to November. This is the largest monthly increase since March 2004 when the index rose 6.9 percent compared to the previous month. The December pending sale level was still 4.4 percent lower than it was a year ago. However, inventories of homes for sale -- which peaked at an all time high in July of 2006 -- have been shrinking. The Pending Home Sale Index is based on new sales that have not yet closed. A listing is pending when a purchase contract has been signed by all parties. Closing takes typically 30 to 60 days. According to NAR, the improvement in the pending sale index was broad based. It increased 8.1 percent in the Northeast, 5.3 percent in the West, 4.3 percent in the South and...
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