SOURCE: Chicago Board Options Exchange

March 17, 2006 09:00 ET

CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) Announces New Real Estate Index Futures on National Association of Realtors Existing-Home Sales Median Prices

CHICAGO, IL and BOCA RATON, FL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 17, 2006 -- The CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) announced today that it plans to launch National Association of Realtors Existing-Home Sales Median Price futures contracts. Through a licensing agreement with the National Association of Realtors (NAR), CFE has created five new futures contracts designed to track the median price of existing-home sales nationally and in four distinct regions within the United States. CFE plans to launch the new contracts in the second quarter of 2006, pending regulatory approval.

"With the U.S. housing market valued at nearly $20 trillion, real estate is not only the hottest topic of conversation, it is an asset class unto itself that is arguably one of the most important segments of the U.S. economy," said CBOE Chairman and CEO William J. Brodsky. "CBOE gave careful consideration to the development of this contract to ensure that it had practical application for hedging as well as speculating, offering a chance to participate in the real estate market to a wide range of investors -- whether your outlook is regional or national, bullish or bearish."

"The launch of the National Association of Realtors Existing-Home Sales Median Price futures contracts marks an important milestone in the evolution of housing as an investment. Now investors, including homeowners, real estate professionals and companies in the real estate business, have a new way to participate in the housing market. In partnership with the CBOE, NAR is proud to be playing a central role in the creation of this new marketplace," said Tom Stevens, NAR President.

"CBOE's selection of NAR's Existing-Home Sales Series testifies to the quality of our data and the significant role the series plays tracking critical trends in the housing markets. Investors in the new futures contracts can be confident that the monthly series will report what is actually happening in the marketplace as accurately as possible," said David Lereah, NAR Senior Vice President and Chief Economist.

The National Association of Realtors Existing-Home Sales survey is a widely recognized median home sales indicator, and is broadly followed in the media. The NAR Existing-Home Sales Median Price indicators are based on a large representative sample of local Realtor associations/boards and multiple listing services (MLS) across the nation that captures 40% of all existing-home closing transactions in its monthly data series.

CFE has created five National Association of Realtors Existing-Home Sales Median Price futures contracts that track the median sales prices in the U.S. overall, and four regions within the U.S.: Northeast, South, Midwest and West. These contracts will settle monthly. An additional 10 contracts based on various metropolitan area markets will also be launched. Those contracts will settle quarterly. Futures quotes will be based on 1/1000th the respective NAR Regional Existing-Home Sales Median Price levels. For example, as of January 2006, the national median sales price was $211,000, so the futures index level for this contract would be 211.00.

The new contracts will be traded electronically, via CBOEdirect, and will be cleared through the triple-A rated Options Clearing Corporation (OCC). At expiration, the futures contracts will be cash-settled, meaning settlement will result in the delivery of a cash amount based on the final settlement price, determined by the surveys conducted by the NAR.

In general, there will be at least two near-term months and two months in the February quarterly cycle for the Regional NAR Existing-Home Sales Median Price futures and two months in the February quarterly cycle for the Metro Area NAR Existing-Home Sales Median Price futures. Price quotations will be in minimum ticks equivalent to $50.00 per contract. Trading hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., Central Time. For more details and contract specifications, go to: http://cfe.cboe.com.

The National Association of Realtors, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

The CBOE Futures Exchange is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated, offering an all-electronic exchange, open access market model, with traders providing liquidity and making markets. CFE is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). More information on CFE and its products, including contract specifications, can be found at: www.cboe.com/CFE.

CBOE®, Chicago Board Options Exchange®, are registered trademarks of Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated. CFE(SM) is a servicemark of CBOE Futures Exchange, LLC. Realtor is a collective membership mark registered by the National Association of Realtors and should be used only to refer to members of the National Association of Realtors.

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