US pending home sales race to 6-mth high in April

WASHINGTON, June 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Pending sales of previously
owned U.S. homes rose more than expected in April, scaling a
six-month high as prospective home owners took advantage of a
popular homebuyer tax credit, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home
Sales Index, based on contracts signed in April, increased 6.0
percent to 110.9, the highest since October.

It was the third straight month of gains in the index,
which leads existing home sales by a month or two. Pending home
sales rose by a revised 7.1 percent in March, a figure
previously reported as a 5.3 percent increase.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast pending home sales
rising 5.0 percent in April.

Compared to April 2009, the index was 22.4 percent higher.

Pending home sales were boosted by a government tax credit
for home buyers. Prospective buyers had to sign contracts by
the end of April and close by the end of June to be eligible
for a federal tax credit.

Pending home sales are measured at the time of contract
signing. Existing home sales, which are counted at contract
closing, are likely to increase until next month.

Given that the tax credit has pulled forward some sales,
activity is expected temporarily slacken, but the strengthening
economy and job market are seen supporting the housing market
in the absence of additional government aid.

“The housing market has to get back on its own feet and now
appears to be in a good position to return to sustainable
levels even without government stimulus, provided the economy
continues to add jobs,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist with
the NAR.

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(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

US pending home sales race to 6-mth high in April