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Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:48 AM

Pending Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Rise More Than Forecast

By Shobhana Chandra - Feb 27, 2013
Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes climbed more than forecast in January, a sign the industry will keep strengthening this year.

The index of pending home resales increased 4.5 percent to 105.9, the highest level since April 2010, after a revised 1.9 percent drop the prior month, a report from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 1.9 percent advance.

Home buying is coming within reach of more Americans as mortgage rates close to a record low and gains in employment bring more people into the market. Faster hiring and fewer foreclosures would ensure a more sustained rebound in housing, boosting its contribution to the world’s largest economy.

“Things are getting better in housing,” Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, said before the report. JPMorgan was the second-best forecaster of pending home sales over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Low mortgage rates, an improving economy and an improving job market are helping demand. With home prices rising, most people who’d waited for prices to bottom will want to buy now.”



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