Pending home sales rise in February, reversing decline

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In this April 12, 2011 photo, an existing home is posted for sale in North Andover, Mass. Sales of existing-home sales rose in March, continuing an uneven recovery that began after sales bottomed last July, according to the National Association of Re (AP)

Pending home sales snapped back in much of the country in February, but the lack of homes to buy plus higher prices weighed on buyers, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

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The number of sales contracts rose last month 3.1%, from a downwardly revised 104.3 in January. Even with last month’s increase in activity, the index is 4.1 percent below a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the housing market has gotten off to an uneven start so far in 2018

“Contract signings rebounded in most areas in February, but the gains were not large enough to keep up with last February’s level, which was the second highest in over a decade,” he said. “The expanding economy and healthy job market are generating sizeable homebuyer demand, but the miniscule number of listings on the market and its adverse effect on affordability are squeezing buyers and suppressing overall activity.”

For the year, Yun now forecasts for existing-home sales to be around 5.51 million – flat from 2017. The national median existing-home price is expected to increase around 4.2 percent. In 2017, existing sales increased 1.1 percent and prices rose 5.8%.

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