The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index rose 2.4 percent in June and is 19.8 percent above last year’s levels. Economists were expecting a 2.0 percent drop in the index. Pending sales are a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings and, according to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, the lag time between pending contracts to actual closings is one to two months. Therefore, two consecutive months of rising activity should lead to overall improvement in closed sales in upcoming months, Yun said. Pending sales increased by 4.4 percent in the South and 6.4 percent in the West. More here and here.