The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index measures the number of contracts to buy homes signed each month. Because the index tracks contract signings but not closings, it’s a good indicator of future home sales. According to the most recent release, pending home sales rose for the fourth consecutive month in April and reached their highest level since May 2006. The 3.4 percent increase pushed contract signings 14 percent above year-before levels and was the largest year-over-year increase in nearly three years. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the continued gains highlight the fact that buyer demand is strong. “Realtors are saying foot traffic remains elevated this spring despite limited – and in some cases severe – inventory shortages in many metro areas,” Yun said. “Homeowners looking to sell this spring appear to be in the driver’s seat, as there are more buyers competing for a limited number of homes available for sale.” Because demand is currently outweighing supply in many markets, some are experiencing accelerating price increases. Still, pending sales have now improved compared to year-before levels for eight consecutive months. More here.