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US pending home sales plummet in January

US pending home sales plummeted 7.7 percent in January from the prior month to their lowest level in at least eight years as a deepening recession bites, a real estate trade group said Tuesday.

The National Association of Realtors The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is made up of residential and commercial realtors who are brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, and counselors, and others working in the real estate industry.  said its pending home sales index fell to 80.4 in January, a level that was 6.4 percent below the January 2008 reading.

The sharp drop in the number of contracts signed from December was double the 3.5 percent decline expected by most analysts.

The reading put the NAR NAR National Association of REALTORS
NAR Nucleic Acids Research (journal)
NAR National Association of Rocketry
NAR Nationale Arbeidsraad (Dutch: National Labor Council; Brussels, Belgium) 
 index to its lowest level since the group began tracking the data in 2001, when the index value was set at 100.

Potential buyers held back from entering the depressed housing market, where prices continued to fall after a bubble burst in 2006 and the economy slid deeper into a second year of recession.

"Even with many serious potential home buyers on the sidelines On the sidelines

An investor who decides not to invest due to market uncertainty.

on the sidelines

Of or relating to investors who, having assessed the market, have decided to avoid committing their funds.
 waiting for passage of the stimulus bill, job losses and weak consumer confidence were a natural drag on Verb 1. drag on - last unnecessarily long
drag out

last, endure - persist for a specified period of time; "The bad weather lasted for three days"

 home sales," said NAR chief economist The Chief Economist is a single position job class having primary responsibility for the development, coordination, and production of economic and financial analysis. It is distinguished from the other economist positions by the broader scope of responsibility encompassing the  Lawrence Yun.

"We expect similarly soft home sales in the near term, but buyers are expected to respond to much improved affordability conditions and from the 8,000 dollar first-time buyer first-time buyer npersona que compra su primera vivienda

first-time buyer npersonne achetant une maison ou un appartement pour la première fois

first-time buyer 
 tax credit."

The tax credit is part of a 787-billion-dollar stimulus package President Barack Obama signed into law last month.
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Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:Mar 3, 2009
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