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Pending home sales on the rise

Pending home sales have improved,  with the national index climbing 2 percent since December while increasing 8 percent above the level seen in January 2011. Is this a sign of stabilization in the housing market?

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This chart shows the annual change in the NAR's index value for pending home sales since 2004. The index has seen slow but steady recovery since bottoming out at the beginning of 2010.

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Report for January showing that pending home sales improved with the seasonally adjusted national index climbing 2% since December while increasing 8% above the level seen in January 2011.

Meanwhile, the NARs chief economist Lawrence Yun suggests that today's results indicates "stabilization" for prices and increased activity for the year.

“Given more favorable housing market conditions, the trend in contract activity implies we are on track for a more meaningful sales gain this year. With a sustained downtrend in unsold inventory, this would bring about a broad price stabilization or even modest national price growth, of course with local variations.”

The following chart shows the seasonally adjusted national pending home sales index along with the percent change on a year-over-year basis as well as the percent change from the peak set in 2005 (click for larger version).

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