Pending-home sales shot up by 8 percent year-over-year in January, according to the ""National Association of Realtors"":http://www.realtor.org/ (NAR).[IMAGE]
The trade group found that pending-home sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô contract signings for homes that have not yet closed ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô rose from 89.8 in January last year, which it indexes on a monthly basis.
""Given more favorable housing market conditions, the trend in contract activity implies we are on track for a more meaningful sales gain this year,"" ""Lawrence Yun"":http://www.realtor.org/research/chief_economist_bio, chief economist with NAR, said in a statement.[COLUMN_BREAK]
NAR said that the Pending Home Sales Index also climbed by 2 percent to 97 in January, reaching the highest figure since the homebuyer tax credit lifted it to 111.3 in April 2010.
""With a sustained downtrend in unsold inventory, this would bring about a broad price stabilization or even modest national price growth, of course with local variations,"" he added.
Regionally, the index gained by 7.6 percent to reach 78.2 for the Northeast, reflecting a 9.8-percent year-over-year increase.
For the Midwest, figures fell 3.8 percent to 88.1 percent but ticked up 10.8 percent year-over-year, while pending-home sales rose 7.7 percent in the South to squeeze into 109.1 for January, showing a 10.5-percent increase above numbers from the year before.
The index ticked down 4.4 percent to 101.9 in the West but rose 0.7 percent year-over-year.
Yun said that uneven movements reflected a seesaw effect between still-tight credit and job growth.
""If and when credit availability conditions return to normal, home sales will likely get a 15 percent boost, speed up the home-price recovery, and thereby significantly reduce the number of homeowners who are underwater,"" he added.