The number of signed contracts for the
purchase of existing homes made another significant about face in October. The
National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI),
a measure of those new contracts, increased 7.5 percent from September to a
reading of 125.2. The index had recovered from three straights months of losses
in August, rising 8.1 percent, only to slip back in September by 2.3 percent. The
increase still left the PHSI behind the index level of a year earlier by 1.4
percent. Analysts had expected the index to rise,
but by a much more modest amount. Those polled by Econoday had a consensus
estimate of a 0.7 percent gain. Forecasts ranged from a 1.0 percent decline to growth
of 2.9 percent.


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