Pending home sales were up in January, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
NAR's Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose 2% to 97 in January from a downwardly revised 95.1 in December – it is 8% higher than in January 2011, when it was 89.8. The January PHSI is the highest since April 2010 when it reached 111.3.
The PHSI in the Northeast rose 7.6% to 78.2 in January and is 9.8% above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index declined 3.8% to 88.1 and is 10.8% higher than in January 2011.Â Pending home sales in the South increased 7.7% to an index of 109.1 in January and are 10.5% above a year ago. In the West, the index fell 4.4% in January to 101.9, but is 0.7% above January 2011.
‘Movements in the index have been uneven, reflecting the headwinds of tight credit, but job gains, high affordability and rising rents are hopefully pushing the market into what appears to be a sustained housing recovery,’ says Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. ‘If and when credit availability conditions return to normal, home sales will likely get a 15 percent boost, speed up the home-price recovery, and thereby significantly reduce the number of homeowners who are underwater.’