NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — More Americans signed sales contracts to buy homes in June than in May, the fifth consecutive month of increases, according to a report released Tuesday.
The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index rose 3.6% during the month. That was 6.7% higher than June 2008. It was the fifth straight month of increases, the first time that has happened since July 2003.
The report followed several other recent pieces of good news for the housing industry, including a substantial rise in new home sales, a jump in existing home sales and the first home price increase in nearly three years.
The jump was also much higher than expected. A consensus of industry experts put together by Briefing.com had forecast an increase of just 0.7%
"Historically low mortgage interest rates, affordable home prices and large selection are encouraging buyers who’ve been on the sidelines," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.