Indications that the housing market is shaky but generally improving are continuing to roll in: February’s pending home sales – which represent signed contracts for home purchases – are up over the year but down from January, according to the National Assn. of Realtors.
The group’s index of sales agreements reached a reading of 96.5 in February – down 0.5% from January but more than 9% better than last February’s 88.4 level. January’s 97 rate was the highest since April 2010.
A reading of 100 or more is considered healthy. Pending home sales feature the contracts that are signed about one or two months before a purchase is finalized.
In the West, the index was at 99.3, down 2.6% from January and down 1.8% compared with February 2011. Pending sales were also down from January in the Northeast and the South but up 6.5% in the Midwest.