“The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in November, dropped 16 percent to 96.0, after rising for nine straight months. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast pending home sales, which lead existing home sales by one to two months, falling 2 percent in November after rising to 114.3 in October. Despite the monthly drop, the pending Homes Sales Index was 15.5 percent higher compared to November 2008, the Realtors group said. Home sales have been boosted by a $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, which has been expanded and extended to mid-2010. The popular tax credit had been scheduled to expire at the end of November. ‘The fact that pending home sales are comfortably above year-ago levels shows the market has gained sufficient momentum on its own,’ said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. ‘We expect another surge in the spring as more home buyers take advantage of affordable housing conditions before the tax credit expires.’”
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