US home sales rise but jobless claims also up

PENDING house sales surprisingly shot up in the US for October, according to data released yesterday.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) showed that contracts exchanged on properties increased by 10.4 per cent compared to September, defying a predicted fall.

The result comes as a boost for the housing market, after the index fell by 1.8 per cent in September.

At 80.9 points, the index is still well below its level for the same time the previous year – 112.4 points. However, the 2009 results were warped in the final months due to tax credits for first time buyers, which caused a rush of new sales.

And new vehicle sales are also on the up. In November 873,323 cars and small trucks were sold in the US, 17 per cent more than at the same time the previous year.

But there was bad news for the US, as jobless claims went up. An extra 26,000 claimants signed on in the week ending 27 November, the labour department reported.