Pending home sales rose in January and have been above year-ago levels for the past 21 months, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
NAR's Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) increased 4.5% to 105.9 in January from a downwardly revised 101.3 in December and is 9.5% above January 2012, when it was 96.7.Â The January index is the highest reading since April 2010, when it hit 110.9 just before the deadline for the home buyer tax credit. Aside from spikes induced by the tax credits, the last time there was a higher reading was in February 2007, when it reached 107.9.
The PHSI in the Northeast rose 8.2% to 84.8 in January and is 10.5% higher than January 2012. In the Midwest, the index increased 4.5% to 105 in January and is 17.7% above a year ago.Â
Pending home sales in the South rose 5.9% to an index of 119.3 in January and are 11.3% higher January 2012. In the West, the index edged up 0.1% in January to 102.1, but is 1.5% below a year ago.