Housing contracts rise as mortgage rates fall

| Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

More Americans signed contracts to buy homes in July, a sign that buying has improved as mortgage rates have slipped, the number of listings has risen and the rate of price increases has slowed.

The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 3.3 percent to 105.9 last month. Still, the index remains 2.1 percent below its level a year ago.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.

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