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Nationwide pending sales decline for second straight month

Pending home sales are down 1.5 percent compared to same period in 2010.

Pending home sales are down 1.5 percent compared to same period in 2010.

Despite pending home sales declining for the second straight month, the National Association of Realtors' chief economist believes the key components needed for a housing recovery are in place.

According to the NAR's pending home sales index, the number of people who signed real estate contracts with an eye towards moving day declined from 91.5 to 88.9 in January. That's 1.5 percent lower than where the index was in 2010, but that may have been influenced by a tax credit stimulus in place at the time.

"The broad fundamentals for a housing recovery are developing," Yun said. "Job growth, high housing affordability and rising apartment rent are conducive to bringing more buyers in the market."

The only section of the country where pending home sales increased was in the South.

The most precipitous decline was in the West, as sales fell 5.2 percent. California housing takes up a significant chunk of the Western market, but the rate of decline in pending sales was likely more concentrated in other markets, as the California Association of Realtors reported last week that pending sales in January increased in the state by 14 percent.