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Tax Credit Helps Spur Pending Home Sales

A gauge of future U.S. home sales rose more than expected in July 2009 to the highest level in more than two years as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax credit that expires this fall.

The National Association of Realtors recently said its seasonally adjusted index of sales contracts signed in July for previously occupied homes rose 3.2% to 97.6. It was the sixth straight increase, and 12% higher than the same month last year.

The index of pending home sales could indicate how sales completed this month and next will turn out.

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