NAR: February's Pending Home Sales Up Sharply From 2011

Contract signings for home sales dipped slightly in February from January, but were significantly higher than February of last year, continuing a recent statistical trend that suggests a real estate recovery may be underway.

The National Association of Realtors pending home index fell 0.5 percent in February 2012 from January, but last month's index number, 96.5 percent, is still 9.2 percent above February 2011, when it was 88.4 percent.

"The spring home buying season looks bright because of an elevated level of contract offers so far this year," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. "If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years."

The moderately positive data comes on the heels of other numbers that hint that the housing market is finally slogging toward a recovery. Home sales have risen by 13 percent in the last six months, according to Capital Economics, and home builders confidence is at its highest level since 2007.

A recent study also found a leap in real estate agent confidence, with the number of agents who say they expect home values to rise in the next six months more than doubling in just one quarter.

Follow Teke Wiggin on Twitter (@tkwiggin), follow @AOLRealEstate, or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

See also:
Home Value Survey Sees Sharp Rise in Realtor Optimism

Homebuilders Survey: More Confidence About Housing Sales

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Home Sales:  Buy Now, Says Investor
Home Sales: Buy Now, Says Investor