The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index is an indicator of future existing home sales based on contract signings, not closings. In October, the index rose 5.2 percent from September’s upwardly revised reading. That puts contract signings 13.2 percent above last year’s level and marks 18 consecutive months of year-over-year improvement. It also brings the index to its highest level since 2007. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said affordability conditions have been favorable for some time but the current spike in activity is likely due to steady job creation and consumers’ increasing confidence in home buying now that prices have begun to rise. October’s totals were boosted by a 15.6 percent spike in the Midwest. Pending sales were down slightly in the Northeast and West, while increasing 5.5 percent in the South. More here and here.