WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Pending U.S. home sales rose modestly in July, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.
The Pending Home Sales Index, which predicts home closings one and two months down the road, rose 5.2 percent to 79.4, NAR said.
The index remains 19.1 percent below the 98.1 reading a year ago and "will remain soft in the months ahead," predicted NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
"Improved affordability should help with a recovery, but the recovery looks to be a long process," Yun said in a statement.
"Home buyers over the past year got a great deal," he said. However, "For those who bought at or near the peak several years ago … it may take over a decade to fully recover lost equity."
The trade group said the pending home sales index rose 6.3 percent to 62.5 in July in the Northeast and 4.1 percent to 66.7 in the Midwest. In the South, the index rose 1.2 percent to 86.3. In the West, the index jumped 11.6 percent to 95.