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U.S. Pending Home Sales surprise on the upside in September, gold prices tick up

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(Kitco News) U.S. housing data showed that more consumers than expected committed to buying a home in September, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The U.S. Pending Home Sales were up 1.5% in September, the association said on Tuesday. Consensus forecasts were calling for a 0.9% increase.

The Pending Home Sales Index came in at 108.7 in September, down from August’s downwardly revised reading of 107.1.

Immediately after the release, December Comex gold futures edged up, last trading at $1,489.80, down 0.40% on the day. Earlier in the session, prices touched the daily lows of $1,486.50 an ounce.

U.S. consumers are reacting positively to historically low mortgage rates, which is encouraging additional buying activity, said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

“Even though home prices are rising faster than income, national buying power has increased by 6% because of better interest rates,” Yun said. “Furthermore, we’ve seen increased foot traffic as more buyers are evidently eager searching to become homeowners.”

Economists watch closely the pending home sales numbers because the index is seen as a forward-looking barometer for the housing market. A lag of a month or two usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.

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