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Pending US home sales hit highest level since February '06

May 26, 2016 - 9:59 AM

WASHINGTON - Americans signed more contracts to buy homes in April for the third straight month, driving pending home sales to the highest level in more than a decade.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index surged 5.1 per cent last month to 116.3, the highest since 117.4 in February 2006.

The April numbers are the latest example of good news for the housing industry, which is in the middle of the spring home-buying season. Pending home sales are up 4.6 per cent from a year ago.

Sales climbed 11.4 per cent last month in the West, 6.8 per cent in the South and 1.2 per cent in the Northeast. In the Midwest, sales dipped 0.6 per cent.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, credited long-term mortgage rates that remain below 4 per cent and steady job growth, which gives consumers the incomes and confidence to buy homes.

Pending sales contracts are a barometer of future purchases. A sale is typically completed a month or two after a contract is signed.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that new home sales shot up 16.6 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000, the most since January 2008. Sales of existing homes, which make up 90 per cent of the housing market, rose in April for a second straight month to an annual pace of 5.45 million.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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