Pending home sales in October climbed to their highest level in more than five years, according to the monthly Pending Home Sales Index compiled by the National Association of Realtors. The index hit 104.8 in October, a 5.2% month-over-month increase and a 13.2% gain over October 2011, according to data released today.

Including October's figure, pending home sales have increased for 18 straight months. That 104.8 is the best showing since March 2007, when the index matched that level.

The association quoted its chief economist, Lawrence Yun, as saying that buyers are capitalizing on advantageous market conditions. "We're seeing more impact now from steady job creation, and rising consumer confidence about home buying now that home prices have clearly turned positive," Yun said.

He added that there were sharp regional differences in the October results. While they surged in the Midwest and gained notably in the South, they declined slightly in the Northeast and the West.