by ALAN ZIBEL
WASHINGTON (AP) – Pending U.S. home sales in April posted the biggest monthly jump in nearly eight years, a sign that home sales are finally coming to life after a long and painful slump.
The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index of sales contracts signed in April rose 6.7 percent to 90.3. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the index would edge up to 85 from a reading of 84.6 in March. It was the biggest monthly jump since October 2001.
Typically there is a one- to two-month lag between a contract and a done deal, so the index is a barometer for future existing home sales. The index was 3.2 percent above last year’s levels and has risen for three straight months after hitting a record low in January.