Home Sales Climb in Rocky Recovery

pending home salesThe housing market continues its stutter-step road to recovery, as the spring buying season gains momentum. Despite uneven growth in the past nine months, some experts believe homes sales have finally turned a corner.

Pending home sales rose 5.1 percent to 94.1 in March from a downwardly revised 89.5 in February, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index has now risen in six of the past nine months.

"Since reaching a cyclical bottom last June, pending home sales have posted an overall gain of 24 percent and demonstrate that the market is recovering on its own," said Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, in a statement released Thursday.
Compared with the year-ago period, March 2010 sales were 11.4 percent higher at 106.2. However, activity was heightened in March and April last year due to the federal government's homebuyer tax credit program, which enticed buyers with up to $8,000 in tax credits.

Regionally, pending home sales fell 3.2 percent to 63.4 in the Northeast but rose 3.0 percent in the Midwest to 83.5. In the South, the index surged 10.3 percent to 110.2, while the West climbed 3.1 percent to 103.7.

In context, an index of 100 is equal to contract activity in 2001, the first year in which the NAR tracked pending home sales. Historically, 100 or better reflects a healthy level of activity in the market.

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