In a sign that the housing market may be getting a spring in its step, the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales jumped considerably in February. The NAR’s index of sales agreements rose 8.2% from January to a February reading of 97.6. January’s reading was revised slightly downward to 90.2. The results” may signal the early stages of a second surge of home sales this spring,” said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist. The index is considered a barometer for future sales activity because there is typically a one-to-two-month lag between a signed sales contract and a completed deal. Home sales were slow during the winter, which was likely due to bad weather and because shoppers were not rushed to meet the deadline to qualify for a government tax credit. First-time buyers can get a tax break of up to $8,000 if they sign a contract by April 30. Existing homeowners can get a credit of $6,500.