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pending_home_sales_declinePending home sales slowed in August, with tight inventory conditions, higher interest rates, rising home prices and continuing restrictive mortgage credit impacting the market, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, eased 1.6 percent to 107.7 in August from a downwardly revised 109.4 in July, but remains 5.8 percent above August 2012 when it was 101.8; the data reflect contracts but not closings. Pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 28 months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the decline was expected following elevated levels of closed existing-home sales at the end of summer. “Sharply rising mortgage interest rates in the spring motived buyers to make purchase decisions, culminating in a six-and-a-half-year peak for sales that were finalized last month,” he says. “Moving forward, we expect lower levels of existing-home sales, but tight inventory in many markets will continue to push up home prices in the months ahead.”

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