A monthly index that tracks pending sales of U.S. existing homes rose to its highest level in 19 months in November, according to a report released today from the National Association of Realtors. NAR's Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on purchase contracts signed but not yet closed, jumped 7.3 percent from an upwardly revised 93.3 in October and 5.9 percent compared to November 2010, to 100.1. That's the highest index score since April 2010, just before the deadline for a federal homebuyer tax credit program, when the index was at 111.5, NAR said. The index is not affected by the trade group's recent "rebenchmarking" of existing-home sales figures because it uses a different methodology based directly on contract signings and the index is adjusted for seasonality, the trade group said. The index typically represents about 20 percent of all existing-home transactions. An index score of 100 is equal to the average level of sales contract activity in 2001, which was th...
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