Industry News

Pending real estate sales index falls 10.5%

Index hits lowest level in 4 years

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A National Association of Realtors index that gauges pending home sales dropped 10.5 percent in March compared to the same month last year, and was down 4.9 percent from February 2007. The Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on signed contracts for home sales that have not yet closed, was 104.3 in March, NAR reported. The index is considered a leading indicator for the housing sector, as pending sales typically are finalized within one or two months of signed contracts. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, the first year to be examined for the index and the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales. The index reached its lowest level in March since a reading of 103.5 in March 2003. David Lereah, NAR's chief economist who will leave this post next month to join Move Inc., said in a statement, "We're starting to see the effects of a decline in subprime lending and tighter lending standards." Regionally, the PHSI in...