Pending home sales climbed 2.0% to a December reading of 93.7 as the expanding economy and historically low borrowing costs spurred buyers, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.

Economists predicted a 1.0% increase for the index, which has a base year of 2001. The winter months are generally the lightest time of the year for home purchases.

“Modest gains in the labor market and the improving economy are creating a more favorable backdrop for buyers,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.

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