NAR: resale real estate prices to fall 2% in 2011

Pending Home Sales Index rises 5% in March

A National Association of Realtors index that tracks pending sales of existing homes rose 5.1 percent in March but dropped 11.4 percent compared to the same month last year.

Also today, NAR released its latest annual forecast, which anticipates a 1.8 percent drop in the median price of U.S. existing homes — the previous forecast, released in March, had anticipated a 1 percent drop in the median U.S. existing-home price.

Regionally, the Pending Home Sales Index — which is based on sales for which the contract has been signed but the transaction has not yet closed — rose 10.3 percent in the South, 3.1 percent in the West and 3 percent in the Midwest while dipping 3.2 percent in the Northeast from February to March.

And the index dropped 18.4 percent in the Northeast, 16.6 percent in the Midwest, 10.5 percent in the South and 4.1 percent in the West on a year-over-year basis in March.