Pending home sales were down slightly in February but remain notably above the pattern in the first half of last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.
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The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, eased 0.5 percent to 96.5 in February from 97.0 in January but is 9.2 percent above February 2011 when it was 88.4. The data reflects contracts but not closings.
“The spring home buying season looks bright because of an elevated level of contract offers so far this year,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “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.”
In the West the index declined 2.6 percent in February to 99.3 and is 1.8 percent below February 2011.