U.S. pending home sales advanced 1.5 percent in March, reversing February’s decline, the National Association of Realtors announced Monday.
The pending home sales index, based on contract signings, increased to 105.7 in March from 104.1 in February and was up 7 percent from 98.8 in March 2012. The month-to-month result topped the Reuters forecast, which called for an increase in sales of 1 percent.
Higher pending home sales signal that actual home sales may rise in coming months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market appears to be leveling off. "Contract activity has been in a narrow range in recent months, not from a pause in demand but because of limited supply. Little movement is expected in near-term sales closings, but they should edge up modestly as the year progresses,” he said.
By region, March saw pending home sales rise 2.7 percent in the South, 1.5 percent in the West, and 0.3 percent in the Midwest. There was no change in the Northeast.
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Data scheduled to be released on Tuesday is expected to show home prices in 20 metropolitan areas tracked by S&P/Case Shiller rose 1 percent in February from a year ago.