The National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales index jumped 8.2 percent in February to 97.6 from January’s downwardly revised figure of 90.2. The index remains up 17.3 percent from the same period a year ago.
In an April 5 news release, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, noted that February’s increase may indicate a second surge in home sales in response to the home buyer tax credit. “The rise in buyer contract activity may signal the early stages of a second surge of home sales this spring. The healthy gain hints home prices are continuing to flatten,” Yun said in the release. “We need a second surge to meaningfully draw down inventory and definitively stabilize home values.”
By region, the pending home sales index in the Northeast increased 9 percent to 77.7 in February, up 18.9 percent from a year ago. The Midwest surged 21.8 percent to 97.9, up 18.7 percent from a year ago. The South rose 9.2 percent to 107, up 17.5 percent from a year ago, while the West fell 4.8 percent to 98, but remained up 14.6 percent from a year ago.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year NAR examined as well as the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales, according to NAR.