Pending U.S. home sales hit two-year high in July
Home sales nationwide rose this summer to 2007 levels, according to one measurement. From the Associated Press at latimes.com:
Pending U.S. home sales rose more than expected in July to the highest level in more than two years as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax credit that expires this fall.
The National Assn. of Realtors said today its seasonally adjusted index of sales contracts signed in July for previously occupied homes rose 3.2% to 97.6. It was the sixth straight increase and 12% above the same month last year.
Thomson Reuters economists had expected the index to reach only 96.5.
The Realtors group hasn't seen a six-month rise in its Pending Home Sales index since it started it in 2001, according to a news release at its website.
"The worst is over," said NAR economist Lawrence Yun. "This is not a one-month fluke."
He predicted foreclosures will continue to rise but added that there are now active buyers who are "staying within their budgets." Within two to three years he expects foreclosures to return to their historic levels.
The release quotes NAR President Charles McMillan on the need to keep the momentum going. The group has been lobbying Congress to extend the tax credit into 2010.
But, as some L.A. Land commenters have often expressed on this blog, one has to wonder if the tax credit -- an artificial propping up of the market akin to the "cash for clunkers" program -- isn't just dragging out a return to some semblance of normalcy.
Credit: Associated Press