Pending home sales flat in April, miss expectations

Pending home sales rose just 0.4% nationwide in April

Pending home sales remained essentially flat in April from a month earlier, as the spring selling season struggles to kick into full gear.

Buyers signed 0.4% more contracts for previously owned homes last month than in March, the National Assn. of Realtors said Thursday. Compared to April 2013, the group’s pending sales index fell 9.2%.

The housing recovery has cooled recently as buyers struggle to afford a home after rapid price increases last year. But there have been some signs buyers are beginning to adjust. 

April's pending sales increase--although missing expectations of a 1% rise--was the second straight monthly gain. Previously, pending sales had declined for nine consecutive months. 

Lawrence Yun, the group’s chief economist, said home sales will likely trend higher.

“Higher inventory levels are giving buyers more choices, and a slight decline in mortgage interest rates this spring is raising prospective home buyers’ confidence,” he said in a statement.

Pending sales rose in the Northeast and Midwest, but fell in the South and West.

The index, adjusted for seasonal swings, tracks contracts signed for previously owned homes and provides a gauge of future activity. Sales usually close within one or two months.

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