By Tiffany Hsu
11:10 AM PST, November 29, 2012
Contracts to buy previously owned homes soared 5.2% in October, reaching a high set more than five years ago.
And index of so-called pending sales hit 104.8 last month, the same level reached in March 2007 and an improvement from 99.6 in September. The gauge is 13.2% above its year-earlier level, according to the National Assn. of Realtors.
At 100, the measure is considered healthy. Pending sales are usually seen as a forecast of finalized sales, which tend to come after a one or two month lag.
The index has risen year-over-year for the last 18 months straight, according to the trade group. The cause? Steady job creation, rising consumer confidence, record-low mortgage rates and a positive trend in home prices, according to NAR’s economists.
Contracts soared 15.6% in the Midwest from September to October and jumped 5.5% in the South. Hurricane Sandy caused a 0.1% dip in the Northeast, according to NAR, while squeezed inventory in the West resulted in a 1.1% slip.
On Wednesday, the government said new home sales dipped 0.3% last month, which dampened recent evidence of a strong housing rebound.
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