"A gauge of pending home sales jumped 5.1% in April, rising to the highest since February 2006.
The National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales index hit 116.3 in April, its third straight monthly climb, the group said Thursday. The index is 4.6% higher than it was a year ago. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast an 0.8% increase for the month.
The index forecasts future sales by tracking real estate transactions in which a contract has been signed, but the deal has not yet closed.
The Midwest was the only regional index to decline in March, but it was still 2.0% higher than year-ago levels. The index for the Northeast rose 1.2%, while the index for the South jumped 6.8%. In the West, the only region to notch a decline in March, sales roared back 11.4%."