A gauge of pending home sales increased in March for the third consecutive month, hitting the highest level since June 2013, signaling that upcoming deals could pick up, a trade group said Wednesday. The index from the National Association of Realtors reached a seasonally adjusted 108.6 in March, up 1.1% from 107.4 in February. "Demand appears to be stronger in several parts of the country, especially in metro areas that have seen solid job gains and firmer economic growth over the past year," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. Pending sales typically close within two months. An index reading of 100 equals the average contract activity level in 2001.
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