Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Pending sales up: fifth month in a row

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Pending home sales rose 3.6 percent from May to June, marking five consecutive months of gains for the first time since July 2003, the National Association of Realtors said.The gains were spurred by low interest rates and affordable home prices, and were strongest in the South (7.1 percent) and West (2.9 percent), NAR said. Month-over month gains in NAR's pending home sales index were more modest in the Midwest (0.8 percent) and Northeast (0.4 percent).Looking back a year, the index was up 11.6 percent in the Midwest, 8.9 percent in the South, and 5.8 percent in the Northeast. In the West, however, NAR's pending home sales index was down 0.2 percent from a year ago.A monthly rise in home prices and somewhat higher mortgage interest rates led to a "modest decline" in affordability in June, NAR said, but another index measuring affordability "remains very favorable."Although the median existing single-family home price in June was $181,600, a family earning the median...