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Pending home sales leap in April

Surges in Northeast, Midwest drive trend

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Pending home sales rose 6.7 percent in April, as a strong surge in homes under contract in the Northeast and Midwest outweighed flat demand in the South and West, the National Association of Realtors reported today.NAR's Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in April, rose 6.7 percent to 90.3, up from 84.6 in March and an improvement of 3.2 percent from a year ago.An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined as well as the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales. In the Northeast, the index jumped 32.6 percent in April, to 78.9, up 0.8 percent from a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 9.8 percent, to 90.4, up 11.1 percent from a year ago. The index in the South slipped 0.2 percent to 93, but was 3.5 percent higher than a year ago. In the West the index rose 1.8 percent to 94.8, but was 2.9 percent below April 2008.Prices in many markets have fallen more in line with inco...