The NYT told readers that the November 2010 index for pending home sales was:
"5 percent lower than November 2009 when buyers were scrambling to close purchases to qualify for the first federal tax credit."
Actually, the credit that expired in November of 2009 was based on completed sales. It typically takes 6-8 weeks from when a home is put under contract until the sale is completed. As a result, no one who signed a contract in November of 2009 could have reasonably expected to complete the sale in time to qualify for the tax credit. The actual surge in contracts was in September and October. Pending homes sales in November of 2009 were 18 percent below the October level.