By Steve Goldstein
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — An index of pending home sales climbed 4.1% in March to reach the highest level since April 2010, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. The index rose to 101.4 in March from an upwardly revised 97.4 in February, which represents a 12.8% gain from March 2011. February’s pending home sales index was initially reported to be 96.5. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing. Sales of existing homes during the first quarter were the strongest in five years, and the trade group said the pending home sales data suggests the second quarter will be equally good.
TMN Comments: Interesting article. We are actually seeing the same trends in the Vail Valley. Our Under Contract properties for the 1st quarter are nearly 30% higher than the number of properties that went under contract in the 1st quarter, 2011. I attribute this activity to 4 things:
1. Pent up demand. People are still getting married and having kids.
2. Record low interest rates. You can get new financing (assuming you qualify) for about 4%.
3. General perception that we have hit the bottom in the local real estate market.
4. The large number of distressed properties hitting the market.
It is still a rough time for sellers and will continue to be difficult until we flush out the distressed properties.