More Americans are signing contracts to buy existing homes than at any time in nearly two years, boosting the housing industry’s slow recovery, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ index of pending home sales.
The measure is up 2 percent to 97 in January after slipping 1.9 percent in December. The index of deals for previously owned homes is up 8 percent compared with the 89.8 level from January 2011.
Last month saw the highest point on the index since April 2010, when consumers drawn by a home-buyer tax credit pushed the figure to 111.3. That was the last time the measure exceeded 100 — the benchmark for industry health.
The index showed year-over-year increases in every region—a 9.8 percent increase in the Northeast, a 10.8 percent rise in the Midwest, a 10.5 percent boost in the South and a smaller 0.7 percent uptick in the West.
Contracts are usually signed a month or two before a deal closes and the home purchase is finalized, making the pending-sales index a leading indicator for where the market is headed. The REALTORS® group said last week that existing home sales in January were up more than 4 percent to an annual rate of 4.57 million.
Housing experts such as Lawrence Yun, the REALTOR® group’s chief economist, credit the sliding unemployment rate—which fell in January to its lowest point in three years —as well as a downward trend in home prices and a supply of homes that is at a nearly seven-year low.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, now is the time.
Call Shelley Bryant, Realtor, Broker/Owner, M.B.A,
Villa Realty, 303-521-7085
serving Denver, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Greenwood Village and surrounding areas.