Pending home sales rose 3.4%, the most since May 2011 and the first gain in nine months, after a 0.5% drop in February that was smaller than initially reported, the National Association of Realtors said April 28.
The median projection in a Bloomberg News survey of economists called for a 1% increase. The gauge is 7.4% below a year earlier.
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 35 economists ranged from a 2% percent decline to a 7% increase after a previously reported 0.8% drop in February.
Purchase contracts fell from the year prior after a 10% decrease in the 12 months that ended in February on an unadjusted basis.
Existing-home sales are projected to total just over 4.9 million this year, less than the 5.1 million in 2013, the trade group said.
Three of four regions showed an increase from February, with contract signings up 5.7% in the West, 5.6% in the South and 1.4% in the Northeast. Pending sales dropped 0.8% in the Midwest.