Pending home sales were up more than expected in March, according to the National Association of Realtors on Thursday, with its Pending Home Sales Index up to 101.4 for the month, compared with 97.4 in February (100 = 2001). The spike gave the organization a chance to be more optimistic than usual. “The housing market has clearly turned the corner,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist noted in a cheerful press statement. “Rising sales are bringing down inventory and creating much more balanced conditions around the county, which means home prices will be rising in more areas as the year progresses.” For the NAR, pending means contracts signed, but no closings yet. The trouble with pending home sales as a guide to the future health of the housing market has been, at least over the last few years, the fact that a lot of sales fall through for one reason or another (but especially lenders who get cold feet). Whether that pattern remains true is still an open question.