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.