Pending home sales gained 0.3% to an index reading of 106.0 in April, after an unrevised 1.5% increase to 105.7 in March, according to a report released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted that the index would be up 1.1%.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001.

Year-over-year the pending homes sales index is up 10.3% from last April, when the index was 96.1.

Regionally, pending sales were mixed. The Northeast saw an 11.5% gain to a reading of 92.3, while sales grew 3.2% in the Midwest to 107.1. In the South, sales fell 1.1% to 119.2, and sales declined 7.6% to 94.6 in the West.

"The housing market continues to squeak out gains from already very positive conditions," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. "Pending contracts so far this year easily correspond to higher closed home sales in 2013," he said. Total existing-home sales are expected to rise just over 7 percent to about 5 million this year.

"Because of inventory shortages, higher home sales will push up home values to the highest level in five years," Yun said.

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