More homes went under contract in January compared to December and a year ago, according to an index released today from the National Association of Realtors that tracks pending sales of existing U.S. homes. NAR's Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on purchase contracts signed but not yet closed, rose 8 percent from January 2011 and 2 percent from a downwardly revised 95.1 percent in December, to 97. According to revised figures, that's the highest index score since April 2010, just before the deadline for a federal homebuyer tax credit program, when the index was at 111.3. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, said in a statement that "the trend in contract activity implies we are on track for a more meaningful sales gain this year." "Movements in the index have been uneven, reflecting the headwinds of tight credit, but job gains, high affordability and rising rents are hopefully pushing the market into what appears to be a sustained housing recovery," Yun a...
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