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NAR ups ’09 home sales forecast

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The National Association of Realtors is anticipating a 4.8 percent jump in sales of previously owned homes this year -- which is higher than the 2 percent annual rise the group had forecast just a month ago and reverses a downward trend in the previous two years. Also, NAR reported today that its index gauging pending sales of resale homes gained for the ninth month in a row in October and recorded a 31.8 percent gain compared to the same month last year. The Pending Home Sales Index is based on signed contracts for home sales that have not yet closed, and is considered a leading indicator as sales are typically finalized within one or two months. A share of these pending sales, though, will not close for a variety of reasons. In its latest forecast, NAR projects 5.15 million sales of resale homes this year, compared with 4.91 million in 2008 and 5.65 million in 2007. The median price of resale homes is expected to be $172,700 this year, down 12.8 percent compared to 2...