An index tracking pending sales of existing homes inched up a barely perceptible 0.1 percent from April to May, but it marked the first time the index has posted four consecutive monthly gains since October 2004, the National Association of Realtors said today.At 90.7, the Pending Home Sales Index was up 6.7 percent from a year ago. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, the year NAR launched the index and the first of five consecutive record years of existing-home sales.The index posted the strongest monthly gain in the Northeast, rising 3.1 percent to 80.9, up 6.8 percent from a year ago. The West also saw a 2.2 percent increase in the index from April to May, to 96.9, down 0.7 percent from a year ago.The index slipped 1.7 percent in the South from April to May, to 92.6, which is a 7.9 percent gain from a year ago. The Midwest saw a 1.3 percent monthly drop, to 89.2, up 11.4 percent from a year ago.Some contracts signed in May might not close ...
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