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REAL ESTATE

Pending home sales hit highest point in nearly nine years

Home sellers occupy the driver's seat this spring as buyers hunt amid tight supply

The housing market's strong spring appears to be rolling on.

The National Assn. of Realtors said Thursday that its index of pending home sales climbed for the fourth straight month to its highest level in nearly nine years in April. The measure of houses that are in contract but not yet closed increased 3.4% for the month and sits 14% higher than the same month last year, its biggest year-over-year gain since September 2012.

This comes despite rising prices, driven by tight supply in many parts of the country. Still, foot traffic at open houses is strong as buyers try to take advantage of low interest rates and an improving job market.

"Homeowners looking to sell this spring appear to be in the driver's seat, as there are more buyers competing for a limited number of homes available for sale," said the Realtors group's chief economist, Lawrence Yun.

The trade group also released a projection estimating that home prices will climb 8% in the second quarter, up from a 6.5% year-over-year gain in the first quarter. They expect the pace of sales to cool slightly, up 6% compared with 6.2% in the first three months of the year.

Keep an eye on housing and real estate in Southern California. Follow me on Twitter at @bytimlogan

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