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Pending home sales higher in December

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Pending home sales in December showed signs of recovering from a slump the month before, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors released Tuesday. The association also adjusted its economic outlook for 2010 and 2011, and projects that existing-home sales will rise from 5.19 million in 2009 to 5.66 million in 2010 and 5.7 million in 2011.Based on contracts homebuyers signed but not yet closed in December, the association's Pending Home Sales Index increased 1 percent, to 96.6 from 95.6 in November, and rose 10.9 percent from December 2008, when the index was 87.1.The index is based on about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales nationwide. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, the first year to be examined and the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales, the association said. After a spike in activity the association attributed to a rush to meet the original deadline for the homebuyer's ...