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Pending home sales down 3 percent last month

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(Read caption) This chart shows national pending home sales from 2001 through last month. The data are seasonally adjusted, and the chart shows the percent change on a year-over-year basis and the percent change from the peak set in 2005.

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Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Report for Janaury showing continued pullback in home sales with the seasonally adjusted national index declining 2.8% since December and remaining 1.54% below the level seen in January 2010.

It's important to note that with today's release, the NAR revised the seasonal factors affecting all data from January 2008 resulting in some notable downward revisions of past seasonally adjusted values including five downward revisions in just the past six months.

Meanwhile, the NARs chief economist Lawrence Yun appears to be smartening up and portraying the situation for housing with a bit more of a realistic outlook.

"While home buyers over the past two years have been exceptionally successful with historically low default rates, there is still an elevated level of shadow inventory of distressed homes from past lending mistakes that need to go through the system, ... We should not expect the recovery to be in a straight upward path – it will zig-zag at times."

The following chart shows the seasonally adjusted national pending home sales index along with the percent change on a year-over-year basis as well as the percent change from the peak set in 2005 (click for larger version).

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