A National Association of Realtors index that gauges pending sales of existing homes rose 17.3 percent year-over-year in February and rose 8.2 percent from the January level. The association also updated its annual economic forecast, which raises expectations for new single-family home sales this year. The Pending Home Sales Index, based on purchase contracts signed but not yet closed, is considered to be a leading indicator for future sales. An index score of 100 is the average level of contract activity in 2001, the first year that index data was collected. Regionally, the seasonally adjusted index rose 21.8 percent in the Midwest, 9.2 percent in the South, and 9 percent in the Northeast while falling 4.8 percent in the West in February compared to the same month in 2009. And the index rose 18.9 percent in the Northeast, 18.7 percent in the Midwest, 17.5 percent in the South and 14.6 percent in the West year-over-year in February, NAR reported. I...
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