For the fifth time in the past six months, the National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index improved, increasing 2.0 percent in December. The index, which is based on signed contracts rather than closings, is an indicator of where existing-home sales will be in coming months. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the latest pending-sales gain suggests activity is reaching a sustainable, healthy volume and he expects the trend to continue due to excellent housing affordability conditions. More here and here.