Pending Home Sales Rise: The Tax Credit Effect?

Potential homebuyers rushed to sign contracts in March, pushing the Pending Home Sales Index to its highest level since last fall, according to the latest from the National Association of Realtors.

We expected that
-- the surge in pending home sales is part of a mini housing boom created by a massive federal program -- the $8,000 federal home-buyer tax credit that expires this spring.

But this mini housing boom might be over already. Demand for housing tanked the last time the home-buyer tax credit expired last fall. To take advantage of the latest tax credit, home buyers had to sign their contracts by April 30.

So if you had an open house to sell a home May 1 and nobody showed up, this might explain why....