The Pending Home Sales Index rose 1.7% in November to reach a high not seen since April 2010, according to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) report released today.

"Even with market frictions related to the mortgage process, home contract activity continues to improve," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement. "Home sales are recovering now based solely on fundamental demand and favorable affordability conditions." 

In addition to marking the third straight month of month-over-month increases, November's numbers also further solidify long-term trends. Compared to last November, the newest index results represent a 9.8% gain. On a year-over-year basis, pending home sales have been on the rise for the past 19 months.

The index does not reflect closings and is based on signed contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. Looking ahead, existing home sales are expected to increase 8% to 9% in 2013 (following a 10% gain expected for all of 2012) accompanied by a 4% rise in median home price (following a rise of more than 7% in 2012), according to the NAR.

Today's news follows close behind a reported 4.4% rise in new home sales for November and the news that mortgage rates remain near record lows.

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