From Bloomberg:

Pending Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Rise by 8.2%, Almost Triple Forecasts

The number of contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose almost three times as much as forecast as falling prices made properties more affordable.

The surprising 8.2 percent increase in the index of pending home resales from April followed a revised 11 percent drop the prior month, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. Economists forecast a 3 percent gain, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.

While the measure of contract signings has been volatile this year, last month’s index level is 0.1 point lower than the January figure, indicating residential real estate has made little headway. Foreclosures, unemployment at 9.1 percent and stringent loan terms are holding back demand even as a decline in home prices attract some buyers.

“The market for existing homes is still extremely weak,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. “Existing-home sales will probably improve in June based on this reading, but probably not a lot.”