Pending home sales surged 7.3% to a reading of 100.1 in November, its highest level in 19 months, from an unrevised 10.4% increase to 93.3 in October, according to a report released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 2.0% increase for the index.
Year-over-year the pending homes sales index is up 5.9% from last November, when the index was 94.5.
Regionally, pending sales were higher. The Northeast saw an 8.1% increase to 77.1, while sales gained 3.3% in the Midwest to 91.6, sales grew 4.3% to 103.8 in the South, and sales soared 14.9% to 121.2 in the West.
“Housing affordability conditions are at a record high and there is a pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been on the sidelines, but contract failures have been running unusually high,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Some of the increase in pending home sales appears to be from buyers recommitting after an initial contract ran into problems, often with the mortgage.”
“November is doing reasonably well in comparison with the past year. The sustained rise in contract activity suggests that closed existing-home sales, which are the important final economic impact figures, should continue to improve in the months ahead,” Yun added.