The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index is a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings but not closings. In May, the index climbed 5.9 percent from the previous month and is 13.3 percent above year-before levels. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the housing market is clearly superior this year compared to the past four years. The increase in contract signings marks 13 consecutive months of year-over-year gains, Yun said. Regionally, the West and Midwest posted the strongest gains over the previous month, with the West gaining 14.5 percent month-over-month. In the Midwest, pending home sales are 22.1 percent higher than they were in May 2011. More here and here.