February pending home sales index dips 0.5 point

Pending home sales dipped slightly in February, according to an industry trade group the National Association of Realtors. Its pending sales index fell to 96.5% last month from 97.0% in January, although it's still 9.2 percentage points above its year-ago level. 

"The spring home buying season looks bright because of an elevated level of contract offers so far this year. If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. 

By region, pending home sales rose 6.5%% in the Midwest, but dropped 3.0% in the South, 2.6% in the West and 0.6% in the Northeast. 

An index reading of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed. Not all contracts lead to closings.

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