According to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales rose 4.1 percent in March and are 12.8 percent above year-before levels. Pending sales, which reflect contract signings but not closings, are now at their highest level since April 2010. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said first-quarter sales data shows that it was the best first quarter in five years and, based on contract signings, the second quarter should be equally good. Regionally, pending sales were highest in the West and the South. The South was up 5.9 percent from February and the West rose 8.7 percent. All regions increased from last year, with the Midwest up 16.9 percent and the Northeast 21.1 percent above March 2011. According to Yun, 2012 will be a year of recovery for the housing market. More here.