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According to data from the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales were up 3.7 percent in October, compared to September, and up 32 percent when compared to October 2008. This was the biggest annual increase in history. Keep in mind that October 2008 was a historic low so we should not be surprised by the huge increase.
Pending home sales — which equates to the number of contracts signed but have yet to close — rose in all sections of the country except the West. They were up 20 percent in the Northeast, 11.6 percent in the Midwest and 5.4 percent in the South, but down 11.2 percent in the West.
Part of the surge is probably attributable to buyers rushing to take advantage of the government-subsidized first-time home buyer’s credit, which was set to expire at the end of November but now has been extended through April. Also, the bulk of sales still are coming from cheaper houses, with little movement in houses costing more than $250,000.