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    The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released its pending home sales figures for the U.S. on Thursday. Pending home sales in the U.S. rose 3.4% in April, exceeding expectations for a 0.9% increase, after a 1.2% gain in March. March's figure was revised up from a 1.1% rise.



    Pending home sales increased in all four regions of the country.



    "Realtors are saying foot traffic remains elevated this spring despite limited-and in some cases severe-inventory shortages in many metro areas," the NAR's chief economist Lawrence Yun said.



    He added that home prices accelerated in many markets.



    "The housing market can handle interest rates well above 4 percent as long as inventory improves to slow price growth and underwriting standards ease to normal levels so that qualified buyers - especially first-time buyers - are able to obtain a mortgage," Yun pointed out.

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