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Tax credit pushes February home sales

Monday, April 5, 2010

A government incentive may be increasing the number of pending home sales.
A government incentive may be increasing the number of pending home sales.

Reducing the amount of available homes may help construction equipment operators, as it could lead to an increase in homebuilding.

The National Association of Realtors said that consumers may be more focused on buying houses, as pending home sales were up in February. The NAR said that its Pending Home Sales Index for the second month of the year increased 8.2 percent over January, reaching 97.6. A mark of 100 on the scale represents the average number of home sales seen in 2001.

A tax credit that is available from the federal government to homebuyers may be pushing consumer buying interest further. Through the credit, first-time purchasers could see $8,000, while repeat buyers have a chance at up to $6,500.

However, consumers have to come to an agreement on a purchase by April 30 and close on the deal by the end of June. As a result, pending home sales may have increased as people try to meet the deadline.

"Anecdotally, we're hearing about a rise of activity in recent weeks with ongoing reports of multiple offers in more markets, so the March data could demonstrate additional improvement from buyers responding to the tax credit," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.
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