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Pending home sales jump again in October

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Pending sales of existing homes were up 5.2 percent from September to October and 13.2 percent from a year ago, according to an index maintained by the National Association of Realtors.NAR's Pending Home Sales Index, which represents existing-home contracts signed but not yet closed, rose to 104.8 in October -- the highest sustained level in five years. In April 2010, when the federal homebuyer tax credit was still in place, the index hit 111.3, but soon dipped back down.An index score of 100 is equal to the average level of sales-contract activity in 2001, a year in which home sales were within a range that's considered "normal" for the current U.S. population. Contracts signed in October typically close one or two months later.The 13.2 percent year-over-year jump for the index in October marks the 18th consecutive month of annual increases -- a sign of sustained growth. "We've had very good housing affordability conditions for quite some time, but we're seeing m...