Pending home sales in the U.S. rebounded in February on improved contract signings, but the low number of listings weighed on affordability and overall activity, data from the National Association of Realtors, or NAR, showed.
The pending home sales index rose 3.1% to 107.5 in February from a downwardly revised 104.3 in January, beating Econoday's estimate of 3.0% growth. Compared with a year ago, sales were down 4.1%.
The pending sales index in the Northeast went up 10.3% month over month to 96.0 in February, while the measure in the Midwest inched up 0.7% to 98.9.
The index in the South rose 3% to 125.7, whereas the West was up 0.4% to 96.9.
"Homeowners are already staying in their homes at an all-time high before selling, and any situation where they remain put even longer only exacerbates the nation's inventory crunch," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.
Looking ahead, existing-home sales are expected to reach 5.51 million in 2018, flat from 2017.