Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Upcoming home sales in the U.S. were slightly up in April, a signal of a stabilizing housing market this spring.
The seasonally adjusted index of pending sales of existing homes climbed 0.4 percent to 97.8 in April from March, according to the report by the National Association of Realtors released on Thursday. It was the second straight increase for the index following eight straight months of decline.
The increase was below the estimates by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal who called for a 2.0 percent gain. Pending home sales fell 9.2 percent from the previous year.
Thursday’s report showed that the housing market has stabilized after sales eased in the second half of 2013 due to increasing interest rates and a harsh winter weather.
The data for pending home sales offers timely gauge of housing market trends because transactions are recorded when contracts are signed. Sales typically close after one to two months.
The rise in home purchases could help boost the economy that has contracted by 1.0 percent in the first quarter, according to a separate report by the Commerce Department released Thursday.