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Posted by: Broker -  2009-05-04

Pending home sales rise 3.2 percent in March

First-time buyers take advantage of discounted prices, low rates

WASHINGTON - The National Association of Realtors says pending U.S. home sales rose from February to March as buyers took advantage of deeply discounted prices and low interest rates.

The real estate group said Monday its seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for previously occupied homes rose 3.2 percent to 84.6 in March. The index was 1.1 percent above last year's levels and has risen for two straight months after hitting a record low in January.

The index, which started in 2001, tracks signed contracts to purchase existing homes. Typically there is a one- to two-month lag between a contract and a done deal, so the index is a barometer for future home sales.