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Pending home sales rise in July

August 29, 2012
  • Americans signed the most contracts to buy homes in July than at any other point in the last two years, further evidence of a housing recovery.
Americans signed the most contracts to buy homes in July than at any other… (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma )

Pending home sales in July rose to their highest level in more than two years -- the latest sign that the nation’s housing market is healing.

The National Assn. of Realtors said Tuesday that its pending home sales index rose 2.4% from June to July and was up 12.4% from July last year. The index hit a level of 101.7, which is slightly above where pending home sales were averaging in 2001, a year the group describes as historically healthy.

The data covers contracts signed for home purchases of previously owned homes. Sales are measured when deals close. A rise in pending home sales does not always translate into closed sales, but the measure is one early indicator of demand for housing in the U.S.

The increase comes one day after data from Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller showed that U.S. home prices rose sharply in June, helping to cement a growing consensus that the real estate slump is over.

Housing is up because more people are chasing fewer homes as inventory has dropped sharply this year. But with jobs and the economy growing at a decidedly sluggish pace, experts caution that the housing market is not likely to sustain a sharp upward trajectory and give a major boost to the overall economy.

US Pending Home Sales Index Chart

US Pending Home Sales Index data by YCharts

ALSO:

Home prices rise sharply

Sales of existing homes improve as prices rise

Housing chief says little to fear from 'shadow inventory'

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