US pending home sales rose slightly in November, sticking to a sideways trend in the recovering housing market, the National Association of Realtors says.
The NAR’s pending home sales index rose to 104.8 in November from a dip to a revised 104.0 in October, with all the country’s major regions posting small gains except for the Midwest.
The index has been above 104.0 for seven consecutive months, peaking at 105.8 in July.
Based on contract signings for home purchases, the index in November was 4.1 per cent above the November 2013 level, the strongest year-over-year gain since August 2013.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the economy’s growth since a first-quarter contraction, stronger job creation and falling petrol prices had yet to push pending home sales sharply higher, but those improvements were bolstering confidence among potential home buyers.
“With rents now rising at a seven-year high, historically low (mortgage) rates and moderating price growth are likely to entice more buyers to enter the market in upcoming months,” Yun said in a statement.
NAR forecast that the national median existing home prices will be close to $US208,000 ($A225,000) for all of 2014, up 5.6 per cent from 2013, and moderate next year to a rate between four and five per cent in 2015.