The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index increased from 88.4 in February 2011 to 96.5 in February of this year, an uptick that suggests some of the strongest existing-home sales in years.
A leading indicator for housing, the index is based on the pending sales of existing homes, and it typically represents about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. An index of 100 is representative of the average contract activity in 2001, which was the index’s first year of existence.
Though the index did fall slightly by 0.5 percent from January, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the uneven sales pattern in 2012 still points to a relatively strong year of sales for the existing-home market.
‘The spring home buying season looks bright because of an elevated level of contract offers so far this year,” he said. “If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years. Based on all of the factors in the current market, that’s what we’re expecting with sales rising 7 to 10 percent in 2012.”
Regionally, the index showed very strong returns in the Midwest for both monthly and yearly measures. The index jumped 6.5 percent to 93.8 from January to February, and it is 19.0 percent higher than February 2011.
Regionally, the index in the South mirrored the national average, falling 3.0 percent from January to February but rising 7.8 percent from February 2011.