Pending Home Sales Rise For Ninth Month in a Row!

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Published: Tuesday, 1 Dec 2009 | 10:02 AM ET
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By: CNBC.com

AP

Pending home sales have risen for nine months in a row, a first for the series of the index since its inception in 2001, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in October, increased 3.7 percent to 114.1 from 110.0 in September, and is 31.8 percent above October 2008 when it was 86.6.

The rise from a year ago is the biggest annual increase ever recorded for the index, which is at the highest level since March 2006 when it was 115.2.

The PHSI in the Northeast surged 19.9 percent to 100.2 in October and is 44.2 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 11.6 percent to 109.6 and is 36.6 percent higher than October 2008. Pending home sales in the South increased 5.4 percent to an index of 115.4, which is 31.6 percent above a year ago. In the West the index fell 11.2 percent to 127.7 but is 21.9 percent above October 2008.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, cautioned that home sales could dip in the months ahead. “The expanded tax credit has only been available for the past three weeks, but the time between when buyers start looking at homes until they close on a sale can take anywhere from three to five months."

"Given the lag time, we could see a temporary decline in closed existing-home sales from December until early spring when we get another surge, but the weak job market remains a major concern and could slow the recovery process," said Yun.

In other housing news, construction spending posted a tiny gain in October, led by huge rise in residential activity.

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