The National Association of REALTORS® said Monday that pending home sales nationally increased two percent in January over December numbers.  “In the Midwest the index declined 3.8 percent to 88.1 but is 10.8 percent higher than January 2011,” the NAR release stated.

Nationally, the index was at 89.8 percent in January 2011. The data reflect contracts, but not closings.

The index gives economists a sense of where the market is going, and differs from home sales reports which show where the market has been.

Said NAR economist Lawrence Yun:

Lawrence Yun

“Given more favorable housing market conditions, the trend in contract activity implies we are on track for a more meaningful sales gain this year. With a sustained downtrend in unsold inventory, this would bring about a broad price stabilization or even modest national price growth, of course with local variations.”