Pending home sales rise, beating expectations

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:10am EST

A U.S. flag decorates a for-sale sign at a home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, August 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A U.S. flag decorates a for-sale sign at a home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, August 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose more than expected in October, a sign the housing market recovery advanced into the fourth quarter despite a mammoth storm and concerns over looming tax hikes.

The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in October, gained 5.2 percent to 104.8.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected signed contracts, which usually become sales after a month or two, to rise 0.8 percent last month.

The housing market is steadily healing after collapsing in 2006, supported by modest job gains, increased job security and record low mortgage rates. The broader economy has been constrained by concerns the government's plans to slash the budget deficit next year could trigger a recession. This has hit business confidence, although consumer sentiment has nevertheless improved since the summer.

"We've had very good housing affordability conditions for quite some time, but we're seeing more impact now from steady job creation," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Yun said the data showed some impact from superstorm Sandy, a deadly storm that slammed into the U.S. East Coast in late October.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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Comments (2)
USAPragmatist wrote:
Looks like yesterday’s report about new home sales my have just been a blip in the larger overall upward trend. Let me guess, the righties/Obama haters are going to find some sort of conspiracy theory why this is wrong?

Nov 29, 2012 10:24am EST  --  Report as abuse
bearmarket wrote:
This is fantastic! Let’s hope our Nation’s housing market continues on this upward trend with little volatility. We are going to need a strong housing market more than ever.

Nov 29, 2012 10:45am EST  --  Report as abuse
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