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Pending home sales fall 'as expected'

WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- Pending U.S. home sales fell in May after three months of increases, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.

The Pending Home Sales Index dropped "as expected," the trade group said, due to the April 30 cessation of a federal home-buyer tax credit, the trade group said.

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The forward-looking economic indicator dropped 30 percent in May from April and came in 15.9 percent lower than May 2009.

The realtors' organization group said the pending home sales index declined 31.6 percent to 67 in May in the Northeast and 32.1 percent to 70.8 in the Midwest. In the South, the index dropped 33.3 percent to 82.5. In the West, the index fell 20.9 percent to 85.3.

"Consumers are rational and they rushed to meet the tax credit eligibility deadline in April," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. "The sharp decline in contract signings in May is a natural result with similar low levels of sales activity anticipated in June," he said.

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