More homebuyers signed purchase contracts in October compared to September, pushing up a monthly index of pending home sales, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors. Pending sales of existing homes rose 10.4 percent month-to-month in October, to 89.3. An index score of 100 is the average level of contract activity in 2001, the first year that index data was collected and a record year for existing-home sales. "It is welcoming to see a solid double-digit percentage gain, but activity needs to improve further to reach healthy, sustainable levels. The housing market clearly is in a recovery phase and will be uneven at times, but the improving job market and consequential boost to household formation will help the recovery process going into 2011," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, in a statement. On a year-over-year basis, the index is down 20.5 percent from October 2009 when the original deadline of the first-time homebuyer tax...
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