There was a 3.5 percent increase in the number of "pending" home sales in November from October, the National Association of Realtors just reported.
Those are home sales where a deal has been signed, but not yet closed. Since hitting a low in June, they've risen over the past five months — but remain 5 percent below the level of November 2009.
Still, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says the data signal a gradual recovery into 2011 in the housing market. Gradual is the key word: Yesterday, S&P/Case-Shiller reported that home prices fell 1.3% in October from September — a sign that if there is a recovery, it remains soft.