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Wed Jun 27, 2012, 11:55 AM

Pending Sales of U.S. Homes Climbed More Than Forecast [View all]

By Michelle Jamrisko - 2012-06-27T15:22:34Z

More Americans than forecast signed contracts to purchase previously owned homes in May, indicating the real estate industry is firming three years after the start of the economic recovery.

The index of pending home resales climbed 5.9 percent to 101.1, matching a two-year high reached in March, after a 5.5 percent decline in April, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 39 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 1.5 percent gain in May.

Record-low mortgage rates and cheaper properties may keep sparking buyer interest, even as cooling employment and limited access to credit remain hurdles for the market. The Federal Reserve’s decision last week to extend a program aimed at holding down borrowing costs may sustain the progress in residential real estate.

“This improvement adds to the recent flow of good news on the housing sector, reinforcing our view that this beleaguered sector is finally on the mend,” Millan Mulraine, a senior U.S. strategist at TD Securities in New York, said in an e-mail to clients. “It points to a decent pop in existing-home sales activity in June.”

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-27/pending-sales-of-u-s-homes-climbed-more-than-forecast-in-may.html

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