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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

December pending home sales tick upward

December pending home sales index rose 1 percent compared with November, the National Association of Realtors said moments ago.

That number is up 10.9 percent over December 2008. The index is based on contracts signed, not closings.

Sales are now stabilizing following the extension of the government-subsidized home-buyers credit, the Realtors said.

December pending sales rose in all four regions of the country except for the West, where they fell nearly 4 percent.

Mizuho Securites USA chief economist Steven Ricchiuto is worried about vacancy rates:

"This brings the vacancy rate back up to its first quarter of 2009 level and reflects a shift of homes back into the for sale category from the for rent totals. The increase in the number of vacant homes being held off the market also suggests weaknesses in the housing market. These two data points confirm my view that housing is not adding to the recovery process," he writes.

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By Frank Ahrens  |  February 2, 2010; 10:11 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: National Association of Realtors, pending home sales  
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