There are people who are quick to accuse NAR of over-cheerleading the housing market. You have to wonder what they make of releases like this one.

NAR’s press release about pending home sales begins, “Pending home sales were down slightly in February but remain notably above the pattern in the first half of last year.”

Tell me, if you were a simple cheerleader, wouldn’t you lead with the fact that pending sales were up from a year ago? Not only is that the more-positive fact, it’s also the more important one!

Month-to-month changes don’t tell you nearly as much (usually) as year-over-year numbers. And the latter are looking quite nice, thankyouverymuch: The Pending Home Sales Index (i.e., it reflects contracts, not closings) in February was up 9.2 percent from February 2011.

Call me crazy, but a 9.2 percent jump like that strikes me as really good news.