pending home sales national association realtors
Al Behrman/AP
By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON -- Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose to their highest level in three years in April, but a shortage of properties for sale could slow down the momentum.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, rose 0.3 percent to 106.0, the highest reading since April 2010.

The increase, however, was less than economists' expectations for a 1.1 percent advance, suggesting tight supplies of properties could slow sales. Contracts, which become sales after a month or two, had increased 1.5 percent in March.

The housing market's fortunes have decisively shifted for the better and it is regaining its dominance in the economy, acting as a buffer against belt-tightening in Washington.

The recovery, marked by a soaring home prices and dwindling supplies, is being driven by the Federal Reserve's very easy monetary policy stance, which has kept mortgage rates low.


Although mortgage rates spiked last week to their highest level in a year amid heightened speculation the Fed will soon start to scale back monetary stimulus, economists do not believe higher borrowing costs would derail the housing recovery.

About a third of home resales are cash transactions.

Contracts were up 10.3 percent compared to April last year.

Last month, home resale contracts rose in the Northeast and Midwest. Contracts fell in the South and West.


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gardeoala

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July 14 2013 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thefosz

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If your an investor looking to buy property at rock bottom prices just take a look at those areas that have many of the people working for the government. With all the short term cut backs in federal spending and the so called Sequestoring --- you can now pick up properties in those areas at half the prices they would have sold for three or four years ago. All you have to do is rent them out and once the housing prices rise 20 % or more in the next 5 years you have made a fortune. Look in areas like Houston TX, Huntsville AL, and Washington DC. These areas now have panic selling going on......with everyone thinking they are going to lose their job.



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May 30 2013 at 4:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to thefosz's comment
h.hughjardon

It says that 1/3 of purchases are cash....many are investors, and is reflected in the 'surge'

May 30 2013 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply