Despite expectations that it would fall, The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index rose 2.1 percent in February. The index, based on contracts signed during the month, is a forward-looking indicator for existing-home sales. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said long-term trends show contract activity up 20 percent from its low last June, even with periodic monthly declines. And, though there may be few notable gains in existing-home sales in the near term, they are expected to rise 5 to 10 percent this year, Yun said. More here and here.