Economy

Pending Home Sales Rose In May; Now Above Year-Ago Level

After a string of reports in recent days about problems in the housing sector, now there's some more positive news:

"Pending home sales rose strongly in May with all regions experiencing gains from a year ago, pointing to higher housing activity in the second half of the year," the National Association of Realtors just reported.

It says there was an 8.2 percent gain in its pending home sales index, which measures "contracts, but not closings," and therefore is something of a leading indicator.

According to NAR, "this is the first time since April 2010 that contract activity was above year-ago levels, and the monthly gain was the strongest increase since last November when the index rose 10.6 percent."

The realtors' chief economist, Lawrence Yun, says in a statement issued with the report that "some markets have made a rapid turnaround, going from soft activity to contract signings rising by more than 30 percent from a year ago, including areas such as Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis; Minneapolis; Houston; and Seattle."

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