Wednesday, April 1, 2009
An index tracking signed contracts to purchase previously occupied homes rose in February from a record low. Buyers were taking advantage of deeply discounted prices and low interest rates.
The National Association of Realtors' index of pending sales gained 2.1% to 82.1 in February. That is up from January's record low 80.4.
Typically there is a one- to two-month lag between a contract and a completed tranaction, meaning that the index is seen as barometer of future home sales.
The trade group says falling home prices and mortgage rates have made homeownership more affordable than it's been since at least 1970.
Hopes have been growing that home sales, while still severly depressed, may be finally showing signs of life. Sales of existing home sales rose 5.1% in February, the largest increase in nearly six years.