NAR: Pending home sales rise in November for the third straight month

According to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales increased 1.7 percent in November, reaching the highest level in two and a half years.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced on December 28 that pending home sales increased 1.7 percent to 106.4 in November, reaching the highest level in two and a half years.

According to the association's Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), which is based on contract signings, this is the third straight month of growth, up from 104.6 in October and 96.9 in September.

"Even with market frictions related to the mortgage process, home contract activity continues to improve. Home sales are recovering now based solely on fundamental demand and favorable affordability conditions," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a press release.

These positive numbers suggest continued improvement for the housing industry going into the new year. NAR has predicted that existing-home sales will rise 8 to 9 percent in 2013, reaching up to 5.1 million.

According to the press release, the PHSI either rose or stayed the same in each area of the country, with the Northeast, the Midwest and the West increasing 5.2 percent, 0.1 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively, and the South remaining at the same number as October.

This most recent research from NAR adds to the recent trend of positive data the housing industry has seen throughout the end of 2012. With mortgage rates at record-lows, housing starts increasing and builder and consumer confidence improving, it appears that the housing recovery will continue into the new year.

With all of this in mind, lenders may want to invest in loan management software to ensure that as the market works its way back to full strength, borrowers can stay on top of their monthly payments.