Pending sales of previously owned homes rise 6% in April

The number of previously owned homes placed under sales contract rose 6% in the U.S. in April, the last month that a federal tax credit for buyers was available, the National Assn. of Realtors said Wednesday.

Pending sales have risen for three straight months, the Washington industry group said. The group’s pending-home-sales index rose to 110.9, up from a revised 104.6 in March. That was 22.4% higher than in April 2009, when it was 90.6.

The index is based on a national sample covering about 20% of sales of previously owned homes. An index of 100 represents the average level of business in 2001, the first year to be examined as well as the first of five consecutive record sales years.

Pending sales were at their highest level since October, according to the index. That’s when buyers were rushing to meet an initial Nov. 30 deadline for federal tax incentives of up to $8,000 for first-time buyers. Congress extended that credit through April 30 and expanded it to include a credit of up to $6,500 for some current homeowners.


Sales plummeted in the months after the credit had first been set to expire, and many economists expect a similar slump in coming months with the credit extensions expired.