Pending home sales improved further in December, marking the fifth gain in the past six months, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator, increased 2 percent to 93.7 based on contracts signed in December from a downwardly revised 91.9 in November. The index is 4.2 percent below the 97.8 mark in December 2009. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.
“Modest gains in the labor market and the improving economy are creating a more favorable backdrop for buyers, allowing them to take advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Mortgage rates should rise only modestly in the months ahead, so we’ll continue to see a favorable environment for buyers with good credit.