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Pending home sales increase in October03 Dec

WASHINGTON — A gauge of pending sales of homes rose 10.4 percent in October because of “excellent” housing-affordability conditions, but activity needs further improvement to reach a healthy level, the National Association of Real tors reported Thursday.

The association’s pending- home-sales index rose to 89.3 in October from 80.9 in September. The 10.4 percent gain is the largest on record, with the data going back to 2001.

Pending sales reflect contracts signed between homebuyers and sellers, and closing a sale usually takes a few months. A reading of 100 equals the average level of contract activity in 2001.

“The housing market clearly is in a recovery phase and will be uneven at times, but the improving job market” will help, said Lawrence Yun, the group’s chief economist, in a statement.

In October, pending home sales rose in three of four regions: up 27.3 percent in the Midwest, 19.6 percent in the Northeast and 7.1 percent in the South. The index fell 0.4 percent in the West.

Nationally, the index is down 20.5 percent from last year, when first-time buyers were taking advantage of a tax credit.

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