Pending sales of existing homes up!

The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes rose more than forecast in January

 The index of pending home resales climbed 2  percent after a 1.9 percent decrease the prior month that was smaller  than previously estimated, the National Association of Realtors said  today in Washington. The median forecast of 44 economists surveyed by  Bloomberg News called for a 1 percent rise.

  Buyers are returning to the market on the heels  of faster job gains for three straight months, falling home prices and  record low borrowing costs.

  Pending home sales are considered a leading  indicator because they track contract signings. Purchases of existing  homes are tabulated when a contract closes, typically a month or two  later, and made up more than 90 percent of the housing market last year.

  Compared with a year earlier, January pending home sales climbed 10.3 percent.

  Existing-home sales rose to a 4.57 million annual  rate in January.