The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Index, an indicator of pending sales based on contract signings, rose 3.4% in March to 97.4, from an upwardly revised February number of 94.2. That’s still 7.9% below March of 2013, however.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said he expects the uptick to continue.
“After a dismal winter, more buyers got an opportunity to look at homes last month and are beginning to make contract offers,” Yun said. “Sales activity is expected to steadily pick up as more inventory reaches the market, and from ongoing job creation in the economy.”
Some of the biggest increases came in the West, where the PHSI rose by 5.7% to 91.0. That’s still 11.1% below the region’s March 2013 number, however. The South saw its PHSI rise 5.6% to 112.7, still 5.3% below a year ago. In the Northeast, the PHSI increased 1.4% to 78.8, still 5.9% below last year’s numbers. The Midwest’s index slipped 0.8%, falling to 94.5. That’s 10.1% below the region’s March 2013 PHSI score.
Although home sales are expected to continue trending upward in 2014, a weak start to the year means the numbers are unlikely to match last year’s, according to the NAR.
Pending home sales were up in March, posting their first gain in nine months even as sales of new single-family homes plummeted.