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Pending home sales stable in deep chill of January

Feb. 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Pending home sales were essentially unchanged in January with tentative sales up in the South and Northeast, but in decline elsewhere, a trade group said.

The National Association of Realtors said the Pending Home Sales Index rose 0.1 percent in January over December, rising to 95 from an upwardly revised 94.9 in December.

The index rose, but came up 9 percent shy of January 2013, when the index stood at 104.4.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said freezing temperatures in the month held back shopping for homes for the second consecutive month. Low inventory and tight credit also played a part in slowing down the market, he said.

"Ongoing disruptive weather patterns in much of the United States inhibited home shopping," Yun said in a statement.

"Limited inventory is also playing a role, especially in the West, while credit remains tight and affordability isn't as favorable as it was a year ago," he said.

NAR said the pending home sale index rose 2.3 percent in the Northeast, rising to 79. In the South the index rose 3.5 percent to 111.2.

In the West, the index fell 4.8 percent to 84.2. In the Midwest, it dropped 2.5 percent to 92.9, the trade group said.

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