The National Association of Realtors [NAR] said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in February, increased 2.1% to 90.8 from 88.9 in January. Economists had expected the index to fall 1.0% after a previously reported 2.8% decline.
“We may not see notable gains in existing-home sales in the near term, but they’re expected to rise 5 to 10 percent this year with the economic recovery, job creation and excellent affordability conditions providing confidence to buyers who have been on the sidelines,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
Compared to February last year, the index was down 8.2%. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.