A trade group’s index gauging pending sales of resale homes rose for the eighth straight month in September and was up 21.2 percent compared to the same month last year.

The National Association of Realtors reported that the index rose 6.1 percent from August to September, reaching 110.1 — an index score of 100 is equal to the average level of sales contract activity in 2001, which was the first year to be examined for the index.

The index for all of 2008 was 87.1; in 2007 it was 96.3, and in 2006 it stood at 111.9.

The index is based on a large national sample of home-sale contracts signed during the month of September, and this sample typically represents about 20 percent of all resale transactions, according to NAR.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said in a statement, "What we’re witnessing is a rush of first-time buyers trying to beat the expiration of the tax credit at the end of this month."

Congress is expected to vote this week on an extended and expanded tax-credit program (see Inman News story).

Regionally, the index dropped 2 percent in the Northeast in September while rising 10.2 percent in the West, 8.1 percent in the Midwest and 4.9 percent in the South compared to August.

And the index was up 23.7 percent in the West, 22.8 percent in the South, 17.8 percent in the Midwest and 16.9 percent in the Northeast year-over-year in September.


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