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Pending real estate sales rise in July

NAR: Existing-home median price projected to fall 3.3% in 2011

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Pending homes sales in July fell month-to-month for the first-time since April, but rose substantially compared to the same month a year ago, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors. The trade group's Pending Home Sales Index rose 14.4 percent year-over-year in July, to 89.7. That's a 1.3 percent dip compared to June's index. The index tracks signed, but not closed, purchase contracts for resale homes. An index of 100 indicates the average contract activity in the index's 2001 base year, which was a record year for existing-home sales."Looking at pending home sales over a longer span, contract activity over the past three months is fairly comparable to the first three months of the year, and well above the low seen in April," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, in a statement. Yun said that "rising rents, record high affordability conditions and investors buying real estate as a future inflation hedge" bode well for real estate,...