Pending home sales decreased 2.6% in November to a reading of 87.6 from an upwardly revised 89.9 in October, first reported as 87.2, according to an index released yesterday by the National Association of Realtors.

Year-over-year the pending homes sales index was down 19.2% in November.

“On the one hand, we have a pent-up demand from the four million jobs added to our economy over the past two years of sales decline,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “On the other, consumers continue to wait for additional signs of market stabilization. There are more people with financial capacity now than in 2005, but many are trying to market-time their purchase. As a result, the exact timing and the strength of a home sales recovery is a bit uncertain. A meaningful recovery in existing home sales could occur as early as this spring, or it may be further delayed toward late 2008.”

Existing home sales for 2007 are projected at 5.66 million, the fifth highest on record, edging up to 5.70 million this year and 5.91 million in 2009. Existing home prices for 2007 are likely to be down 1.9% to a median of $217,600, hold even this year, and then rise 3.1% in 2009 to $224,400, NAR said.

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