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Published: Thursday, 6/30/2011

Home contract signings jump sharply in May

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

WASHINGTON — The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose sharply in May, pushed higher by an influx of spring buying.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes rose 8.2 percent last month to a reading of 88.8.

That followed April’s seven-month low of 82.1. A reading of 100 is considered healthy by economists.

Signings are now 17 percent above June’s reading of 75.9, the lowest figure since the housing market went bust nearly four years ago. Contract signings are typically a reliable indicator of where the housing market is headed. That’s because there is usually a one to two-month lag between a sales contract and a completed deal.



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