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Tight inventories weigh on prospects for 2013 growth

NAR: Pending sales dip from November to December

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Tight listing inventories are likely to constrain growth in 2013 home sales, the National Association of Realtors said in releasing a report showing that pending sales dropped 4.3 percent from November to December. Despite the month-to-month drop, existing homes under contract were up 6.9 percent from a year ago, making December the 20th month in a row to see an annual gain in pending sales.  NAR's Pending Home Sales Index, which represents existing-home contracts signed but not yet closed, rose to 106.3 in November before slipping to 101.7 last month. 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, the first year examined by the trade group and a year in which home sales fell in what's considered a normal range for the current U.S. population. Contracts signed in a month typically close one or two months lat...