Pending home sales retrenched in April following three consecutive monthly gains, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
NAR's pending home sales index (PHSI) declined 5.5% to 95.5 from a downwardly revised 101.1 in March, but is 14.4% above April 2011 when it was 83.5. Pending home sales were only up in the Northeast (a 0.9% increase), with PHSI declines in the Midwest (down 0.3%), South (down 6.8%) and West (a 12% drop).
Nonetheless, NAR upgraded its housing forecast, with the new prediction that existing-home sales will reach 4.66 million this year, compared with 4.26 million in 2011. NAR's outlook for 2013 is now 4.92 million.
About 25 million homes are owned free and clear without a mortgage, NAR adds.