Pending home sales improved slightly in April and continue to be well above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 0.3 percent to 106 in April from 105.7 in March, and is 10.3 percent above April 2012 when it was 96.1; the data reflect contracts but not closings.
Home contract activity is at the highest level since the index hit 110.9 in April 2010, immediately before the deadline for the home buyer tax credit. Pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 24 months.
“The housing market continues to squeak out gains from already very positive conditions. Pending contracts so far this year easily correspond to higher closed home sales in 2013,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.
Total existing-home sales are expected to rise just over 7 percent to about 5 million this year.
“Because of inventory shortages, higher home sales will push up home values to the highest level in five years,” Yun said. The national median existing-home price should increase close to 8 percent and exceed $190,000 in 2013.