Pending sales of existing homes, or contracts signed but sales not yet closed, rose 4.5 percent from December and were up 9.5 percent from a year ago.
"Favorable market conditions and job growth have unleashed a pent-up demand," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Most areas are drawing down housing inventory, which has shifted the supply/demand balance to sellers in much of the country."
The Washington-based association has also revised higher its expectations for price gains this year, to 7 percent or more, from its previous forecast of home values rising as much as 6 percent.
Pending home sales rose in all regions of the country, led by the Midwest, where contract activity was up nearly 18 percent from a year ago.
Data courtesy of Jeff Clabaugh, Washington Business Journal.