Pending home sales fall for second straight month (by Greg Robb)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -Pending home sales fell in January, the second straight monthly decline, a real estate trade group reported Monday. The pending home sales index fell 2.8% in January, close to market expectations, the National Association of Realtors said. However, sales in December were much weaker than first thought. Sales in December were revised sharply lower to a fall of 3.2% versus the prior estimate of a 2% increase. The index is 1.5% below January 2010 but 20.6% above the trough hit last June after the homebuyer tax credit expired. Pending homes sales fell in the Northeast, the Midwest, and West but rose in the South. The index is based on sales contracts on existing homes. The NAR also reports on sales of existing homes once the sales close, usually six to eight weeks later.