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Pending home sales inch up in October

Pending home sales inched up marginally in October, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported on Monday, the latest in a flurry of recent data that suggests that the U.S. housing market continues on a modest pace of recovery.

Pending sales, which are based on contract signings, rose 20 basis points in October to 107.7 after declining the two previous months, the trade group said. Pending sales were up in the Northeast and West, but fell in the Midwest and South. The sales index was four points above the October 2014 level of 103.7, NAR said.

The pending sales report followed last week's mixed news about home sales. Existing home sales declined 3.4 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted pace of 5.36 million. Meanwhile, sales of newly built homes rose nearly 11 percent in the month to an annual pace of 495,000, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. The numbers are all up when compared to the pace a year ago, however.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicted home sales would grow in 2016, but at slower pace as mortgage rates start to rise. Yun said the pace of sales will largely depend on the supply of homes that enter the market, which has been tight.

Over the next two to three years, the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates eight to 10 times, Yun said. But a stronger economy should neutralize the impact of rising mortgage rates, he said.  



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